Posted on: September 30, 2009 11:40 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2009 11:45 pm
Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham and Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond III are not letting their season-ending knee injuries keep them from exploring their NFL options. Both, in fact, have elected to enter the 2010 draft rather than apply for a medical hardship and return to college next season, the schools announced Wednesday.
Gresham, given a first round grade by the NFL Advisory Committee, suffered a knee injury in the week prior to the Oklahoma's opener against BYU. He underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage soon thereafter and is expected to be fully recovered in time for the Combine.
A strong performance in workouts and clean medical grades from team doctors will likely keep Gresham in the first round. There is no doubt that when healthy, he is the elite tight end prospect eligible for the 2010 draft.
Thurmond's injury has received considerably less national attention. The pre-season All-American was a four-year starter and leaves Oregon with a school-record five touchdown returns for his career. A playmaking cornerback and return specialist, Thurmond had already returned each for a score this season, returning a punt for a score against Utah and an interception for a touchdown against Purdue. Thurmond was injured returning the opening kickoff this past weekend against Cal. He considered leaving Oregon early with fellow defensive backs Patrick Chung and Jairus Byrd (each of whom were selected in the 2nd round) after earning a third round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee.
Thurmond's injury is also much more serious than the cartilage tear suffered by Gresham. Thurmond tore the anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee.
The severity of Thurmond's injury is certain to create doubt with NFL teams as to his draft status. Even with intense rehabilitation, Thurmond won't realistically be ready to workout for scouts prior to next April's draft.
When healthy, Thurmond has proven himself to be among the nation's best cover corners and worthy of Top 100 consideration. His greatest asset, however, has always been his pure athleticism.
If unable to prove this ability in pre-draft workouts, however, Thurmond is likely to slip into the late rounds or perhaps even out of the draft entirely.
Posted on: September 26, 2009 4:10 pm
Much will be made of the fact that Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is set to meet with renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews during the Sooners off-week. Alarmists will argue that this means Bradford had some type of setback after throwing in practice last week.
Sources close to the program, however, have confirmed that Bradford's visit has more to do his insurance policy protecting the Heisman winner from a career-threatening injury. The insurance company, like Bradford, Oklahoma coaches, and NFL scouts, simply want the most trusted opinion in the business to look over Bradford's shoulder before any further decisions are made about his return to the field.
Bradford's father, Kent, is an insurance agent, so one can trust that his son is well prepared. Multi-million dollar policies have become the norm for high-profile players.
Bradford had expressed hope that he could be ready for next weekend's showdown with the University of Miami. With Dr. Andrews' consent, he'd almost certainly be cleared by the OU doctors to do so.
Posted on: September 8, 2009 6:14 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2009 9:31 pm
During Bob Stoops' weekly press conference, he notified the media that All-American tight end Jermaine Gresham underwent a scope to determine the severity of the knee injury he sustained during practice last week.
While the results of the scope hadn't been determined at the time of the press conference (leading Stoops to speculate as to when Gresham might be able to return), doctors made the determination that Gresham required extended surgery to stitch together the cartilage in his knee.
The loss of Gresham for the season is a potentially catastrophic blow to the Sooners' offense. The All-American, who, when healthy rated as NFLDraftScout.com's 4th overall senior prospect for the 2010 NFL Draft, caught 66 passes for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
Because Gresham played as a true freshman in 2006, he could elect to take a medical redshirt this season. Assuming he returns to health, he could re-emerge as a potential top ten prospect.
Should Gresham elect to leave school after this season anyway, it is quite possible that he'd still be a Top 100 selection. Certainly Gresham would have to clear the extensive medical testing that would happen at the Combine, but considering his talent and the relative success rate of today's knee surgeries, he remains a prospect scouts will be keeping an eye on.
Posted on: September 6, 2009 12:53 pm
The unfortunate shoulder injury to Sam Bradford will put some doubt into the minds of those that have previously characterized him as the likely #1 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Protected by one of the greatest offensive lines I've ever seen (considering NFL talent, starting experience, and scheme) Bradford rarely was knocked down in 2008 and earned the Heisman Trophy and a berth in the National Championship game. With four-fifths of his 2008 offensive line now gone, however, one could see that Bradford will have a tougher time staying upright in 2009. Should he return healthy and go on to enjoy a great 2009 campaign, his stock could improve, as he'll answer the questions about his toughness and ability to showcase that stunning downfield accuracy with defenders in his face (my two greatest concerns about his NFL prospects).
Meanwhile, Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead, ranked by NFLDraftScout.com as the second best quarterback of the 2011 class, has a chance to catch or perhaps even pass Bradford while the Heisman winner is out. Snead, like Bradford, will be missing valuable components along his offensive line this season, most notably offensive tackle Michael Oher.
Snead hasn't yet proven to be quite as accurate as Bradford -- and I firmly believe accuracy is the most important characteristic in grading quarterback prospects. He has proven, however, to have above average accuracy for his time in this offense and certainly possesses the rest of the skills necessary towards emerging as a potential early first round prospect.
There are elements to Snead's game that remind me of last April's first overall pick, Matthew Stafford. Like Stafford, Snead can fall in love with his own arm strength and will force passes into coverage. These can result in costly interceptions, of course. They also, however, give him opportunities to make some dazzling throws. Pro Bowl-like throws.
Watch him today against Memphis (ESPN, 3:30 EST) to see if Snead can take advantage of Bradford's injury to lessen the gap between the two prospects most scouts feel could challenge this year's senior class to be the first quarterback selected in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Posted on: September 5, 2009 8:44 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2009 9:09 pm
Reigning Heisman winner Sam Bradford was knocked out of the opener against BYU and will not return.
The hit, a legal one, came from BYU linebacker Coleby Clawson with seconds to go in the first half. It was eerily similar to the one absorbed by Tom Brady from Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth left Bradford on the ground in pain. Bradford stepped into the throw, was grabbed, lifted and driven into the ground. Bradford was then helped to the sideline, where he was immediately placed on the training table, checked out, and moments later walked, obviously favoring his right (throwing) arm, into the locker room as his teammates celebrated Oklahoma kicking the go-ahead field goal. The #3 Sooners lead the #20 Cougars 10-7 at the half.
According to reports, Bradford suffered a sprain to the AC joint in his right shoulder, which, of course, is his throwing arm. X-rays were negative. Typically, a sprain of this nature requires a few weeks of recovery time. These injuries are graded on a 1-6 scale. Sprains graded as a level one or two are usually treated with ice, rest and pain medication and typically requires 2-6 weeks before the normal, pain-free range of motion returns. More severe injuries often require surgery and 6-12 months of recovery time. Again, however, the initial report is that Bradford's x-rays were negative.
Bradford has returned to the field. His right shoulder is heavily taped and being iced.
Posted on: September 3, 2009 6:50 pm
Consensus top senior tight end Jermaine Gresham won't be suiting up for the Sooners this weekend in their opener against BYU this weekend and head coach Bob Stoops seemed to leave open the possibility that he'll be out for much longer.
According to an AP report, Stoops said today that Gresham and team officials were considering treatment options “that could have a bearing on his return” but didn’t elaborate.
The injury, which insiders have described as a "tweaking of the knee" occurred during Tuesday's practice and kept the All-American out of team drills Wednesday, though he reportedly walked without a limp and was on hand for the drills (but out of uniform).
Until more is known, Gresham, NFLDraftScout.com's 4th overall ranked senior for 2010 draft, remains steadily within the elite prospects in the country. His stock is certainly up in the air with the injury concern, however, as Gresham relies on his eye-popping athleticism at 6-6, 258 pounds to generate separation from defenders.
OU is expecting big things from Gresham this year; perhaps considerably more so than the 66 catches for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns he posted last season. With veteran receivers Juaquin Iglesias and Manuel Johnson now trying to make their marks in the NFL, Gresham was expected to be Sam Bradford's primary target.
Posted on: April 19, 2009 4:58 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2009 12:28 pm
A personnel director kind enough to occasionally read my articles and provide some constructive criticism recently told me that I'm missing three relatively safe players from my most recent article posted on NFLDraftScout.com.
The article, which you can read, by copying and pasting the URL address below, identified Wake Forest OLB Aaron Curry, LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson, Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, Cal center Alex Mack, Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno, Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew and Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie as the safest picks of the draft.
The personnel director pointed out three other players that he thought I should have listed, Connecticut running back Donald Brown, Oklahoma offensive tackle Phil Loadholt and Missouri defensive tackle Evander "Ziggy" Hood. Each, he feels, willl be taken in the first round.
Brown, as he explained, "is the last of the top backs. He's pro-ready, a hard worker and has some juice to him." The longtime scout felt that there was a "significant" dropoff from the top three backs -- Moreno, Ohio State's Beanie Wells, and Brown -- to the next tier of backs.
I was the most surprised by his claim that Sooner tackle Loadholt is among the safer prospects of the draft, as I, personally, don't feel he's athletic enough for the left tackle position and may even struggle on the right side. I also question if he's too tall to be moved inside to guard. The personnel director, however, feels Loadholt is an easy fit at right tackle and could surprise at the blind side. "Rare size. Physical. A competitor. The top tackles everyone is in love with are better overall athletes, but I'm looking for football players."
Missouri's Ziggy Hood is a player I've been high on for quite awhile, and was the least surprised by his inclusion in the scout's list. "He's not a world-beater, but he plays his ass off and worked out a lot better than we thought he would. If you need a [defensive] tackle, you'd better go get him in this draft."