Some sad news hit today, as ESPN’s Adam Caplan reports that Clemson Tigers product Brandon Thomas tore his ACL last week while training, and it’s crushing to think that a draft prospect suffered an injury this severe just one month before the first day of the draft. It’s one thing to suffer an ACL tear during the season like Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger did or to deal with a nagging injury like Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Jimmie Ward had to, but tearing an ACL at this point in the calendar is truly devastating.
Thomas was already a favorite sleeper for many, and now he hits super-sleeper status and will be incredibly undervalued due to this ACL tear. Florida Gators defensive tackle Dominique Easley is another very gifted prospect whose stock plummeted due to an injury, so watch closely for where Thomas and Easley land. Pick number matters, but it will be especially interesting to see who scoops these two prospects up.
I would keep an especially close eye out for contenders, because those are the kinds of teams more inclined to take medical redshirts. As we saw last year, the San Francisco 49ers picked up two very talented prospects in Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore on the cheap due to their injuries, and a team like the Niners or New England Patriots could take a flier on Thomas later on and net themselves a steal. Teams with deep rosters have more room to take on a player who won’t start the season healthy.
Thomas is praised for his versatility and solid play, and there was a chance he could have found his way into the first-round if a team like the Seattle Seahawks or Kansas City Chiefs decide that they really wanted a guard.