The NFL Draft is coming up in just a few days, and there are a lot of decisions that teams will have had to make about various prospects, whether those are simply about a player’s talent and fit or whether there are also questions about injury issues or off-the-field concerns.
Along those lines, there are indeed a lot of players with medical concerns and red flags, and that makes it a harder evaluation for NFL GMs and talent evaluators. This year, it seems there are even more injury issues for prospects than normal.
The MMQB’s Peter King got some interesting quotes in his Monday Morning Quarterback article this morning about this very issue. Both NFL Media’s Mike Mayock and an unnamed NFL GM think there are a lot of medical red flags.
“There’s more medical concern with high draft picks than I’ve ever seen in a draft before,” Mayock told King. “So four or five years from now, there’s a good chance that three or four really good prospects won’t make it, because of injury over anything else.”
An NFL GM told King that he spent five hours recently talking with the medical staff about key players. “Never have I been part of a draft with so many medical red flags,” he told King.
Of course, Colts fans are familiar with these injury concerns because a number of the players that have been mentioned in connection to the Colts in mock drafts are dealing with some sort of injury. For example: Reuben Foster has a shoulder injury. Takkarist McKinley does too. Sidney Jones tore his Achilles at his pro day. Jonathan Allen has a shoulder issue. Dalvin Cook has a significant injury history, too.
There are a lot of top prospects in this year’s draft that have injury concerns that will make things much tougher on teams. It’s possible that medical red flags could cause several prospects to fall in the NFL Draft when comparing where they’re actually taken with their talent level, and that’s a decision each team is going to need to weigh: how serious is the injury issue, and does the talent trump that risk?
Colts GM Chris Ballard spoke specifically about that issue last week when he was asked whether he would consider drafting a player early on who has injury concerns. Ballard explained that it’s a long-term decision and that if they are convinced the player can contribute long-term, then they’ll make the move. He added that a team that drafts a player like that needs to have a plan for how to help him succeed.
So basically, we cannot rule out the Colts adding a prospect with some injury concerns. They’ve been evaluating these concerns for months and seem ok taking a guy who will help in the long-run, even if there are injury concerns in the short-term. That’s an important philosophy to keep in mind as we approach the draft, because there are a lot of players who fit into that category.