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NFL Draft Top 10: Players with injury concerns

04.24.12 at 12:04 am ET
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Alabama's Mark Barron is the top safety in the draft despite having double hernia surgery after the season. (AP)

With the 2012 NFL draft beginning Thursday, we continue our coverage by taking a quick look at the prospects in this class with injury concerns. In the past, the Patriots have been willing to roll the dice on players with past injuries with mixed results, ranging from a home run (Rob Gronkowski) to incomplete (Ras-I Dowling). Here’s a look at 10 players expected to hear their names called that have similar injury questions.

1. Mark Barron, S, Alabama — The top safety in the draft missed the combine while recovering from a double hernia surgery performed after the end of the season, but made up for it by recovering and performing well at the Alabama pro day. The issue for Barron isn’t just the hernia, it’s the hernia in addition to his already checkered injury history, which includes a rib injury earlier in the 2011 season and a torn pectoral muscle that ended his 2010 season.

2. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma — Broyles was a four-year starter for the Sooners and holds the FBS record for career receptions with 349. Heading into the 2011 season, he looked like one of the top receivers in this year’s draft class. That was until his tore his ACL against Texas A&M, ending his college career. Broyles, who also suffered a broken collarbone in 2010, is only five months removed from the surgery, but has already started working out for scouts, running a 4.57 40-yard dash, which can only improve along with his knee. At 5-foot-10, Broyles projects as a slot receiver in the NFL and will have to really convince scouts that he can regain his lateral quickness and that his knee hold up against NFL defenders.

3. Jared Crick, DL, Nebraska — Like Broyles, Crick was a highly regarded prospect whose senior year was derailed by a major injury — in his case, a torn pectoral muscle. A full recovery is especially important for Crick, who already had concerns over his upper-body strength and explosiveness before he was ever injured.

4. Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin – The draft’s top center prospect had a solid career for the Badgers — when he was on the field. Konz missed at least two games per year during his three years as a starter due to an array of ailments. In 2009, Konz missed the final two games of the season due to a blood clot in his lung. In 2010, Konz missed two games with a sprained ankle. In 2011, it was another ankle issue (this time a dislocation) that forced him to miss the final three games of the season.

5. Marcus Forston, DT, Miami – Forston was injury-free during his freshman season at Miami, but after that, it was all downhill. His 2009 season was cut short due to an ankle injury, while his 2011 season, which began with a four-game suspension due to NCAA infractions, ended after he underwent surgery for a torn MCL. He also had shoulder surgery prior to the start of the 2010 season.

6. Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama – Chapman has a well-known injury history. However, it is not do to a lack of toughness. Chapman tore his ACL in October of 2011 against Florida and then proceeded to finish the season on the injured knee before undergoing surgery for it in January, similar to what Logan Mankins did in the Super Bowl earlier this year. Despite his toughness, a major knee injury going into the NFL is always going to scare NFL scouts. Chapman also received a medical redshirt after shoulder surgery cut his 2007 season short.

7. Nick Toon, WR, Wisonsin – The receiver with a fun name has a pretty serious recurring foot injury that will might make NFL teams hesitant on draft day. The injury, which limited him late in the 2011 season has lingered into the draft process, leaving him to drop out of multiple drills at the scouting combine. Toon also missed time in 2010 with turf toe and hamstring issues.

8. Donte Paige-Moss, DE, North Carolina – In the first week of January, Paige-Moss announced that he’d been entering the NFL draft after his junior season. A week later, he underwent surgery for a torn ACL he suffered in the final game of the season. Paige-Moss’ decision to leave school was likely based more upon his conflicts with the North Carolina program and his inconsistency on the field. He played in every game of the 2011 season, but started none of them after playing as a full-time starter as a sophomore.

9. Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State — Scouts have not seen much of Martin this offseason after a knee injury prior to the combine forced him to miss Indianapolis and the Oklahoma State pro day. He had surgery on the knee following the combine after suffering from what he described on Twitter as a pinched nerve and fluid in his knee. This was Martin’s second major surgery, following his shoulder surgery last year that kept him out of spring action before this past season. He has also sustained a concussion that forced him to miss time in 2010 as well as a hip injury that knocked him out of two games in 2009. Fortunately for Martin, he’s recovered enough in the past week to work out for scouts, putting enough stress on his knee to impress scouts.

10. Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State — One major knee injury is enough to severely hinder a prospect’s stock — and Bolden has two. After tearing his right ACL during spring practice in early 2011, Bolden’s college career was short. Bolden also had his 2009 season cut short to a major injury to his left knee.

11. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama — He only makes the list only because of his status as an elite prospect. Richardson has some minor knee issues that stand out on him the same way an issue with the transmission stands out on a Ferrari. It will probably be fine, but if it becomes something, the investment is ruined. Richardson missed the combine after having minor knee surgery, later telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter that is was “no big deal at all.” He later participated in Alabama’s pro day less than two weeks later. Richardson also sprained his knee during the 2010 season, forcing him two miss two games.

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