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Top safety Barron reportedly out of combine after hernia surgery

Alabama safety Mark Barron has undergone double hernia surgery and will miss the NFL Scouting Combine, according to several reports Friday.

While his initial prognosis is reportedly good following the surgery, Barron's draft status could take a hit due to the extended absence from workouts.

Here are three questions that come to mind when thinking about how Barron's injury could affect his draft status in April:

How will the injury alter Barron's NFL Scouting Combine experience?

Barron's injury situation will not affect his normal routine at the NFL Scouting Combine, but it will lead to several questions about his injury history in interviews with team personnel. Coaches and scouts will pepper him with a series of questions related to the injury to gauge his long-term prognosis after surgery. Barron will also be subjected to questions from evaluators about his previous injuries to get a feel for his toughness and tolerance for pain.

Each team's medical personnel will also spend extra time working through Barron's medical history to determine the severity of his injury. Initial reports have listed the injury as a double hernia with a recovery time ranging up to eight weeks, but closer examination by doctors will actually determine the length of rehabilitation. In addition, doctors will dig through his extensive injury history to see if there are legitimate concerns about his potential durability as a pro.

How will the injury affect Barron's draft status?

Barron was viewed as the top safety in the 2012 class, and he carried a bottom of the first round grade on draft boards across the league. He has been lauded for his exceptional instincts, awareness and football IQ, and few defenders display his innate ability to get around the ball. Barron's superior intangibles and instincts allow him to play much faster than scouts expect him to test in workouts.

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Unable to cement his status as the top safety in the draft with a solid workout at the combine, Barron's speed and athleticism will be scrutinized heavily by scouts and coaches when viewing the film. Evaluators will extensively study his movement skills to see if any speed or athletic deficiencies show up when he plays in space. While those attributes were in question prior to the injury becoming public, Barron's inability to work out in front of a large NFL contingent will only heighten concerns until he is able to address them in a private workout.

How does the injury shake up draft boards across the league?

If Barron's injury becomes more serious in nature than evaluators anticipate, the draft status of Notre Dame's Harrison Smith and Oklahoma State's Markelle Martin will certainly rise across the league. Smith, in particular, has generated quite a buzz since his solid performance at the Senior Bowl and he could take advantage of the spotlight in Indianapolis to make a strong case for his potential as a top-50 pick.

With few safeties in this year's class possessing the overall skill-set coveted by coaches and scouts, the potential decline of Barron could spark an unexpected run on safeties in the second round.

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