Yardbarker Horiz

2012 NFL Draft Countdown

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Buccaneers have more injury homework this year


Another NFL Draft, another talented prospect with a possible knee for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to mull over.

Last year it was Da'Quan Bowers, who was at one time the #1 prospect in the NFL Draft.  Tampa Bay took a chance on Bowers when he slid deep into the second round (51st overall).  The Buccaneers brought him along at a reasonable pace, and may end up looking stellar:  Bowers played in all 16 games last season as a backup and contributed 22 solo tackles and 1.5 sacks.

This year the player in question is the uber-athlete Trent Richardson, running back from Alabama.  Richardson is generally considered to be one of the two most athletic players in the 2012 NFL Draft along with Morris Claiborne, cornerback from LSU.  Both players are expected by many to be on the board when the Buccaneers select at the #5 overall position.  It's an interesting choice for new Head Coach Greg Schiano.

Richardson, however, revealed last week he would not be participating in the combine drills due to minor knee surgery after an injury in practice leading up to the BCS National Championship Game.  Fortunately for the Buccaneers this time it could be a non-event: the injury required some work on his lateral meniscus and, more importantly, had nothing to do with any ligaments.  Richardson will undergo the typical interview and medical examination processes.

It's a far cry from where Bowers was sitting last season when he was recovering from arthroscopic surgery to repair his right knee.  The medical examination at the combine warned of possible long term problems, and teams shied away quickly.

Fortunately, the story is very different for Trent Richardson.  He has passed the same exams with no such warnings.  This means the Buccaneers could have the top running back as well as the top cornerback on the board when they make their first pick this year.

What could be better than that?

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