How medical grades affected the first round of the draft

Many general managers have stated the significance medical plays in draft evaluation. That was never more true than on Thursday night during the first round the 2014 NFL draft.

This past week we chronicled the top-15 medical issues for the 2014 NFL draft . Health status clearly played a major role by pushing a few players down the board.

The major trend was that none of the top half of the first round draft picks had significant medical issues. In the lower half, however, there was a run on players with injury concerns. Six of the top 15 players with medical issues were chosen during this time frame. Teams seemed unable to resist these players, since they possessed early first round talent, but came at a cheaper price.

C.J. MosleyUS PRESSWIREOnce projected as a top-10 pick, linebacker C.J. Mosley fell to Baltimore at No. 17.

The Ravens started the trend at pick 17 by drafting Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosely, who had a number of shoulder, elbow and hip injuries. Crimson Tide safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, coming off knee surgery, was projected to go early, but fell to the Packers at pick 21. Double hernia surgery and other injuries slid Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard to pick 24 by the Bengals. The Chargers selected TCU cornerback Jason Verrett, who had shoulder labrum surgery, at pick 25. Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley is coming off ACL surgery and hopes to be ready for New England’s training camp come July. Finally, San Francisco grabbed Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward at No. 30, who is still recovering from surgery due to a foot fracture discovered at the Combine.

Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is the biggest remaining talent with medical issues left on the board. He was a projected early pick that is still available on Day 2 due to knee issues. Letters from his personal physicians could not save Kouandjio from the slide, as these letters are routinely supportive and biased. )

As predicted based on my medical information, Kouandjio dropped completely out of the first round. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has Kouandjio at the top of his “best remaining prospects” list. It will be interesting to see if he slides further, as a number of teams have failed him Kouandjio on the medical. Other players to watch with medical issues are Louis Nix III (knee), Zach Mettenberger (ACL, back), Aaron Murray (ACL) and Tre Mason (wrist).

Just like mock drafts, there is no way to be completely accurate on medical evaluations, but it does seem that medical has already played a big role in the 2014 NFL draft.

Follow David on Twitter: @profootballdoc

Dr. David Chao is a former NFL head team physician with 17 years of sideline, locker and training room experience. He currently has a successful orthopedic/sports medicine practice in San Diego. 

Dr. David Chao
Two decades of NFL team physician experience including two Super Bowls and two Pro Bowls. Providing unique perspective to injuries and the NFL sideline/locker room. Successful orthopedic surgery and sports medicine practice in Southern California.

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