With so many talented and potentially talented players entering the draft, teams spend much of their time trying to poke holes in them (figuratively). Often times that's to ensure those players won't be in need of having holes poked in them (literally) by a surgeon.
Such was the case with Raiders second round pick Jihad Ward, who reportedly had some NFL teams thinking he could need arthroscopic knee surgery that would have him out six weeks. Each team does their own independent research and the Raiders were one team that gave him a clean bill of health.
The concern came from an injury he suffered early last season, which he described as "just a little, small tear in the meniscus." That tear required he get his knee scoped at that time and led many teams to believe an additional scope was needed.
Both the Raiders and Ward said from the start that they were confident he wouldn't knee surgery and therefore would be ready right away, with Ward going as far as to say he is "100 percent clean". They proved that this week when he took the field with his new teammates, appearing to prove the doubters wrong.
"He looked pretty good right?" Jack Del Rio said of Ward following the team's first rookie minicamp practice. "Don't trust all those reports out there. We felt pretty good about our reports. He looks terrific. He's very athletic, you know."
Though following his being drafted by the Raiders, he said if the team felt like there would be a need to get his knee scoped, he would be open to it, he said Friday there was never really any doubt in his mind, he would be available day one.
"I'm very confident," said Ward. "That situation which happened in the football season last year, I had surgery on it, but I'm completely fine. I'm running around, I'm flying around, so I'm just gonna keep flying around, doing what I gotta do."
For now it appears any concerns about Ward's knee can be put to rest. If there were any real concerns, the team would not risk aggravating an injury so early in the offseason. If he is out there "flying around" pain free, that's what matters.