- Former Virginia defensive back Chase Minnifield is recovering slower than expected from his January knee arthroscopy, which reports indicate included a microfracture procedure, but he expects it will lead to an improved final result. "I am getting better every day and I only have trace swelling," Minnifield told NFLDraftScout.com. "My doctor, James Andrews, made a report that all NFL teams received. They know. I am not 100 percent, but I will be." Minnifield would not confirm he had microfracture during his January 3 knee scope, but said he was familiar with the procedure. Multiple league sources confirm that medical reports said he had the procedure. Team reactions have been mixed. Minnifield, once projected as a second round draft prospect, has dropped two or more rounds on some boards and at least one team said he is off their draft list now. "We know this procedure is designed to enhance recovery and make the knee more sound," reported one team executive. "We also know it takes time." Despite Minnifield's desire for a rapid recovery, studies on NBA players who had microfracture indicate that a slow, deliberate rehabilitation yields the best results, although some individuals respond quicker than others. Microfracture is a procedure developed in the late 1980s by famed Vail, Colorado orthopedic surgeon Richard Steadman. Dr. Andrews, whose clinic attended Minnifield, advocates a version of that procedure. It is an arthroscopic procedure that is done in conjunction with a traditional clean-out, which is what Minnifield said he had. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange
Full Chase Minnifield News Wire
There are obvious signs of genetic inheritance and perhaps a bit of coaching from his father, Frank, who was a Pro Bowl caliber cornerback for the Cleveland Browns (1984-92).
Chase is tall, lean and plays alertly within the framework of the system. He is high cut, and could use a little more heft if he can handle it because he already isn't exceptionally fluid when flipping his hips.
Minnifield is a menace in press coverage as he re-routes receivers well and has exceptional ball skills, aided by excellent leaping ability and long arms.
He sat out Virginia's 42-24 loss to Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and on Jan. 3 underwent arthroscopic surgery at the Andrews Institute for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze, Fla. to evacuate floating cartilage particles that bothered him most of the 2011 season. His father said the procedure took 15 minutes and expects Chase to be 100 percent. However, Chase did not work out at the Combine and reportedly ran 40 yards in only the mid 4.6-second range at his March 15 Pro Day, which means NFL teams may think his refined skills and instincts may work better at safety.
Minnifield was selected All-ACC the last two seasons and in four years he had 151 tackles, 13 interceptions and showed decent return ability.
Man Coverage: Well versed in press and off-man coverage. Generally gets an effective punch on the receiver at the line of scrimmage, staying square and riding him throughout the first few yards to throw off the timing with the quarterback. Resorts to a bail technique quickly, as he doesn't have elite top-end speed, making him susceptible to big plays over the top when he misses with his jam (USC). A bit high in his back pedal. Appears to have the loose hips to turn and change directions.
Zone Coverage: Alert defender for zone concepts. Understands the holes in the zone and keeps his head on a swivel. Is quick to jump from his responsibility towards the football once it is thrown, putting him in position to make plays. Strong, secure open field tackler.
Ball Skills: Competitive corner who times his leaps well in jump-ball situations. Long arms and good hand-eye coordination to slap away the ball just as it arrives. Possesses good hands for the interception, typically turning passes in which he has a reasonable chance at making a play into turnovers. Saw time as Virginia's punt returner. Possesses lateral agility to elude and quick acceleration when on the return, though his straight-line speed is questionable.
Run Support: Quality run-support cornerback whose physicality and instincts might cause some teams to view him as a potential safety convert. Quickly reads run, slipping past receivers and attacking the line of scrimmage. Not afraid to mix it up with the big boys at the point of attack. Good effort laterally and in pursuit downfield.
Tackling: One of his better traits. Breaks down well when in the open field against elusive athletes. Closes on the ball-carrier in a hurry, making a clean, sure tackle. Technically sound tackler who lowers his shoulder into the ball-carrier with good hit-lift-drive form.
Intangibles: Good bloodlines. Father is a former Pro Bowl cornerback Frank Minnifield, who played for the Cleveland Browns from 1984-1992. Versatile player who played a variety of roles at Henry Clay HS. Served as a wide receiver, running back, cornerback, quarterback, kickoff returner, kicker, and punter.