2017 NFL Draft

Ryan Broyles to work out five months after ACL surgery

Ryan Broyles to work out five months after ACL surgery

By Derek Harper | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
Oklahoma's NCAA record-holding wide receiver Ryan Broyles confirmed to NFLDraftScout.com that he feels "great" and will hold a personal pro day for NFL scouts on April 12, five months after a torn left ACL prematurely ended his remarkable college career.

"I'm feeling confident and I feel great," said Broyles when asked how his leg was coming along. "I can't give you a percentage, it's not 100 percent but the left leg is getting closer to being as strong as the right leg."

In a game against Texas A&M on Nov. 5, Broyles hurt the knee while making a cut after his second catch of the game, a 30-yarder that set up one of four third-quarter touchdowns in the Sooners' 41-25 victory. It was his final college catch, pushing his NCAA record to 349. His 4,586 yards receiving are second in NCAA history.

Last year when Broyles asked the NFL to evaluate his draft potential, he was told he projected as a probable late second-round pick. After conferring with Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, Broyles opted to return for another college season. NFLDraftScout.com had Broyles rated as high as an early second-round pick before his injury. He is currently the No. 26-ranked wide receiver and projected as a sixth-round prospect.

However, if he is able to show significant progress, he is expected to move up everybody's draft board, possibly close to that late second-round spot again. In addition to his own workout on April 12, the next day he is among those players due to return to Indianapolis for a post-Combine re-check. He did attend the February combine. He measured 5-10, 192 pounds and he actually took part in the bench press, pushing up 225 pounds 21 times.

Broyles was an entertaining, elusive wide receiver and returner before his injury. He did not appear to have elite speed, but was very quick and used a dazzling array of lateral moves to elude tacklers. It is exactly that type of move that puts stress on an ACL. That is why the usual physical recovery time for such an injury is believed to be a minimum of eight months. Often, the mental or emotional recovery, and the confidence that goes with it, takes more than a year.

But Broyles began showing confidence when he began pushing his rehab only two weeks after the surgery.

"My dream has always been to play in the NFL, not be a first-round draft pick, just to be a pick," he said. "It's not about where you get picked. It's not about how much money you make. It's about how much you save. I've heard that a lot. I'm on my saving kick already."

There is recent precedent for outstanding players in a so-called skilled position to move into the NFL the next year and have a good career. In 2003, University of Miami's extraordinary running back Willis McGahee was drafted No. 23 overall by the Buffalo Bills after a devastating late-season injury. In 2007, Louisville running back Michael Bush was selected in the fourth round, No. 100 overall, by the Oakland Raiders, despite suffering a season-ending broken right tibia in Louisville's opener the previous season.

McGahee sat out his first pro year, but in the last eight years with three teams he has had four seasons rushing for more than 1,000 yards, including 1,199 yards in 2011 as the other option in Tim Tebow's run option offense at Denver. Bush also sat out his first pro season. Then, after serving as a sometimes starter behind oft-injured Darren McFadden, he made enough of an impression to get a four-year, $14 million contract last month with the Chicago Bears.

McGahee had a severe knee injury that required an extensive surgery known as a triad, involving repair to a torn ACL, meniscus and MCL. Broyles' injury involved only the ACL and the surgery was done in Pensacola, Fla. by Dr. James Andrews, considered one of the best in the business.

"I really expect to be as good as ever at some point," Broyles said. "Everything has gone well. I have worked hard and in some ways I am in the best shape of my life. I'll keep doing my best and the rest will take care of itself."

--Submitted by Frank Cooney, Publisher, NFLDraftScout.com.
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