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Injury History for the 2021 Buffalo Bills Draft Class

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Durability in the National Football League is challenging by itself. Toting a history of major injuries can create a superfluous obstacle to one’s permanency. In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills selected players that sat on both sides of this fence.

IYKYK that Jersey Shore comparisons are the hottest grading rubric since Relative Athletic Scores (RAS). For this exercise, note that the consensus says we used our early draft capital on a couple of Sammi Sweethearts. These prospects should be viewed as a safe bet, injury-wise. Look out though, because there was a gargantuan Snooki selected in the middle of the draft, which means that prospect has high potential to be a train wreck. Also, several players also fall into a grey area, kind of like a wild card, aka The Situation.

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DE Greg Rousseau (Round 1, Pick 30)

Greg sustained an ankle fracture in the third game of his true freshman season. He underwent season-ending surgery. Fortunately, he bounced back and had his breakout 15.5 sack season in 2019. In 2020, he was a COVID opt-out.

He will be three years removed from his ankle surgery, which should be beyond full recovered at this time, especially given the fact he already had his stellar season post-injury.

Grade: Sammi Sweetheart

DE Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr. (Round 2, Pick 61)

Carlos is clean as a whistle. He missed one game as a redshirt sophomore. This is about as good as it gets.

Grade: Sammi Sweetheart

OT Spencer Brown (Round 3, Pick 93)

Injuries date back to high school for Spencer. He has been reported to have had a femur fracture and cartilage repair in his knee during his junior year of HS. The fracture might not be a red flag, but the cartilage procedure should draw considerable concern. He also had a meniscus repair in the spring after his senior season.

As he recovered from his meniscal repair that was late in the process, Spencer redshirted his first year at UNI. In the following season, Spencer tore his MCL and had patellar tendon damage, which required season-ending surgery.

At that point in time, Spencer should have been viewed as injury-prone. However, he bounced back and had back-to-back healthy seasons in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, a redshirt senior, his season was canceled due to COVID. Spencer then did the unimaginable and went out and earned a historic and perfect 10.0 RAS score. For those that are unaware, that ranked him as 1 out of 1,134 OT since 1987 for his graded ‘Relative Athletic Score’.

The outlook could have been bleak. However, Spencer is now three years removed from his last surgery, and he played two productive seasons after the fact. In addition, he graded out as an athletic freak, and he has been seen out in Iowa jumping through folding tables to celebrate his draft selection. I think the injuries are behind him for the most part, but some of these can cause a barrier to his longevity.

Grade: Snooki

OT Tommy Doyle (Round 5, Pick 161)

On paper, Tommy has had a mostly injury-free college career. He did miss the second half of his freshman season due to a foot injury, but it was not reported if he required surgery. Doyle followed that up with three healthy seasons to end his tenure at Miami of Ohio. He also tested out freakishly, as he compiled a 9.9 RAS score.

Grade: Sammi Sweetheart

WR Marquez Stevenson (Round 6, Pick 203)

Marquez got off to a rocky collegiate start. He missed his freshman and sophomore seasons due to injury. His freshman season he broke a collarbone but did not require surgery. The following spring he had a non-contact ACL tear, which did require surgery. This subsequently required him to miss his second year on campus.

Fortunately, Marquez played the last three seasons injury-free. He is now four years post ACL surgery, and it should no longer be hindering his performance. This is evident with his historic performance in the three-cone drill at his pro day, which ranked in the 100th percentile of all time. However, it does carry a small concern for future injuries. He is not quite a ‘Sammi Sweetheard’, but he is also no ‘Snooki’.

Grade: The Situation

S Damar Hamlin (Round 6, Pick 212)

Damar was a four-star recruit coming out of high school as a cornerback. In his freshman year, Damar suffered a core muscle injury. This required him to redshirt his entire freshman year and also caused him to miss three games the next season. It has been reported he required three surgeries to correct his ailment. It is unknown if this was due to re-injury or a scar tissue type issue. Damar was eventually moved to Safety for his next three seasons, in which he was healthy and productive.

The three surgeries required to fix his core muscle injury seem excessive. It is unknown if he sustained any long-term effects, but the fact he played consistently over the past three years should lead one to assume he is past the injury.

Grade: The Situation

CB Rachad Wildgoose (Round 6, Pick 213)

Mostly unscathed early in his collegiate career, Rachad suffered a fractured scapula in the 2020 season. This required him to miss the second half of the season. Thereafter, Rachad declared for the NFL draft as he was only a junior.

A fractured scapula is a broken shoulder blade. To be honest, the last time I heard of this happening was in Rashard Mendenhall’s rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was also season-ending. Regardless, it’s a freak occurrence, and Wildgoose is definitely healed at this time. The goose will be loose in 2021.

Grade: Sammi Sweetheart

G Jack Anderson (Round 7, Pick 236)

Anderson’s pedigree seems like he should have been a higher selection. He was a coveted four-star recruit out of high school and attended Texas Tech to play for Kliff Kingsbury. Jack started from day one as a freshman, and he has one notable injury. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2019, which required surgery, and he missed most of his junior season. It is unknown what the surgery was, but my guess was he had a dislocated shoulder that required a stabilizing procedure. Jack played 2020 fully. I do not see this surgery as a red flag, but considering the fact that he dropped to Round 7, I would guess there was some concern on long-term shoulder stability issues.

Grade: The Situation

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