UCLA linebacker Myles Jack recently returned to Indianapolis for his post-Combine medical re-check. And according to the latest draft chatter, it didn’t go well.
Back in February, Jack was flagged as a guy for whom teams wanted a second opinion. So last week, Jack took time out of his schedule to get his injured knee re-examined.
At the beginning of last season, there were two dynamic linebackers with freakish levels of athleticism that were exciting scouts and draftniks alike. Unfortunately Myles Jack and fellow linebacker Jaylon Smith each injured their knee during the season. Smith tore his ACL and his MCL and suffered nerve damage in his knee. Jack merely tore his meniscus. Additionally, since Jack suffered his injury just 3 games into the season, he’ll be ready for the start of the NFL season in September. Conversely, Smith suffered his injury in Notre Dame’s bowl game and will reportedly miss all of the 2016 NFL season.
No one downplays the severity of Smith’s injury but they also acknowledge that if he can recover his pre-injury form he’ll be a force. Jack, however, is more interesting case. Meniscus injuries are painful but once corrected do not have the same long-term concerns nerve injuries have (I know, I’ve had a meniscus injury).
And here’s the kicker. If Jack’s knee was still a problem, he wouldn’t have had scouts raving at his UCLA pro day. Remember, just a few weeks ago we were marveling at Jack jumping 40” in his vertical jump test while weighing 245 and coming off his injury. Does that sound like a guy with a still-injured knee?
What is happening, is that a few team doctors are fearful and don’t want to put their name on his health; they don’t want to say Jack will be fine and have him be re-injured in 2 years and get blamed for it. It’s much easier – much safer – to say a player isn’t healthy than to risk your professional reputation by saying he will be healthy.
A week or so ago I was told that if Jack was still on the board at #5, Jacksonville would draft the athletic linebacker. Now that looks less likely. Jack may still be drafted in the top 10 but it’s also possible these rumors might push him all the way down to the 11-15 range. I have trouble believing Tennessee would pass on Jack even though their biggest need is OT. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if Tennessee is helping fuel the fire of these rumors hoping the talented young player slides to them.
Thanks for reading.