With the 2022 NFL Draft concluded, there is plenty of optimism for our new rookies this upcoming season. However, some question marks exist due to injury history. As previously reported, Kaiir Elam dealt with a knee sprain that limited his 2021 season. Fortunately, this should not affect his rookie season with the Buffalo Bills. As for the rest of the draft class, some concerns exist.
RB James Cook
Cook had less that 300 touches in his four-year college career. His biggest injury occurred in his 2019 sophomore season, which required him to have ankle surgery. It was reported to be due to a fracture/dislocation of his ankle. This is like the injury Zack Moss suffered in 2020. Cook also had rib and shoulder injuries that caused him to miss a bit of time the following season. Fortunately, 2021 was clean and Cook looks to have put his ankle injury in the rearview mirror.
LB Terrel Bernard
Bernard has the biggest concerns due to medical history. He suffered ailments in each season of his five-year collegiate career. His freshman season was derailed by a foot injury, which required surgery. This was likely a Jones fracture. This is the same thing that happened to Sammy Watkins’ foot in 2015.
In 2018, Bernard missed two games with an unreported ailment. He followed that up with a hand injury that in 2019. This presumed hand fracture resulted in his wearing a club cast that season. In 2020, the injury bug struck again with a major shoulder injury. He suffered a shoulder dislocation that required him to miss half his season.
In his last season, Bernard missed one game due to a knee injury. It was reported to be a meniscal tear, which required a clean up surgery. This is like the operation EJ Manuel had during camp prior to his rookie year.
Overall, Bernard appears injury prone. Although most are common NFL injuries, the procedures on his foot, shoulder, and knee can all create issues down the road. For this reason, I would not be worried about his immediate impact with the Buffalo Bills. However, his career longevity is questionable.
WR Khalil Shakir
Shakir had a few ailments in his four-year collegiate career. After missing a few games due to a knee sprain in his freshman season, Shakir played through a foot fracture and concluded with a hamstring strain in his sophomore campaign. In the offseason prior to his junior season, he had foot surgery. Like Bernard’s foot injury, this was to repair a Jones’ fracture.
The fact Shakir went through his senior season unscathed means his injury concerns are minimal. However, as many star athletes have had in the past, the Jones’ fracture can always have complications and require additional surgery.
P Matt Araiza
No reported injuries.
CB Christian Benford
He missed a few games due to ankle and unknown reasons early in his collegiate career. No major concerns.
LB Baylon Spector
He missed the last game at Clemson due to a hand injury. Should not draw any concerns either.