If you followed Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina prior to his horrific injury last season, you probably had a hunch that it wasn't the end for him. A special athlete and an extremely hard worker, Marcus Lattimore was expected to do everything in his power to work his way back to the football field. Still, he might be about to make an unexpected splash at the NFL Combine this week. Lattimore, who will bring along Dr. James Andrews to the 2013 NFL Combine, told the radio program "Inside the Roost" that he will shock doctors this week. If he really does shock the NFL world this week, what impact will it have on where he goes in the 2013 NFL Draft?
Prior to the injury, Marcus Lattimore was seen as a first round talent whenever he decided to declare for the NFL Draft. After the injury he became one of most interesting prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft, deciding to turn pro and rehab his injury under the care of some of the best doctors in all of sports. Now, before even getting to the NFL Draft, it sounds like he has made some unbelievable progress under the watchful eye of Dr. James Andrews.
It's hardly a first for players under the care of Dr. James Andrews. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson carried his team to the playoffs and won the NFL MVP award this past season after suffering an ACL tear in the middle of the 2011 season. His recovery was remarkable enough to shock Dr. James Andrews. Now it's almost a run of the mill occurrence for the injured athletes he works with. Almost.
This is going to get interesting really quickly if Marcus Lattimore does shock the NFL doctors that examine him at the 2013 NFL Combine over the next week or so. With an abundance of talent, then a horrific injury, followed by an unbelievable recovery, where will his 2013 NFL Draft stock sit? It will be all over the draft board depending on each individual team's take, just like so many of the prospects in this year's NFL Draft. That is going to create a ton of intrigue in the middle rounds.
There are a few ways this can go. A team that is in a good place but could use help at running back, like the Green Bay Packers, could gamble on Marcus Lattimore with a second round pick. It would sting a bit if the pick doesn't pan out, but with a solid core on offense and a huge potential payoff the risk-reward is worth it. Or a team that needs an impact player at running back and isn't in as good of a position overall, like the New York Jets, could gamble because they're looking to make a big splash. Riskier because of their overall need to be on target with their 2013 NFL Draft picks, but again a potential jackpot.
Is the second round a bit high right now given the majority of projections for Marcus Lattimore? Yes. But if his progress is as shocking as we are being led to believe, someone is going to take a chance on him being healthy and able to contribute sooner rather than later.
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