The start of the 2019 NFL Draft is just two days away, and with the Oakland Raiders looking to bolster their league worst pass rush, reports have emerged that one of the premier athletic talents in the draft has a shoulder injury that could cause him to slip.
#Michigan DT Rashan Gary, one of the draft’s top defensive players, has a shoulder that was flagged, sources say. It’s a labral tear from college, and most believe he can play this season, then possibly have surgery afterward. It will likely have to be managed or harnessed, tho— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 23, 2019
Rashan Gary, who lit the combine on fire with an impressive demonstration of athleticism has a shoulder injury that will likely require surgery. However, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the torn labrum will not likely require surgery until after the 2019 season. That would allow Gary to play the upcoming season with a harness or brace, before having offseason surgery as soon as the season is over.
Shoulder injuries are obviously no joke for edge rushers, as Ziggy Ansah, formerly of the Detroit Lions, remains unsigned as a free agent following late season surgery on a torn labrum that limited Ansah to just 146 defensive snaps this past season. He was productive on those 146 snaps, recording 4 sacks and 7 quarterback hits, but obviously any team drafting Gary faces the risk of having a Day 1 or Day 2 pick miss a significant portion of the season if the shoulder injury is aggravated or worsened to the point where surgery is required before the end of the 2019 campaign.
In any case, Jon Gruden is no stranger to drafting defensive linemen out of Michigan who fall due to medical concerns, as was evidenced by his selection of Maurice Hurst during the 2018 draft. Hurst was considered a Day 1 talent by many, but due to a heart condition slipped to the fifth round. That proved fortuitous for Raiders fans, as Hurst proved to be a significant contributor during his rookie season, recording four sacks and a forced fumble in thirteen games, including ten starts.
It remains to be seen whether new general manager Mike Mayock would be on board with selecting a player who fell due to medical concerns, but if the rumors that Gruden has complete control over personnel selections are true, then Mayock’s opinions are obviously less important. In any case, Gruden has shown that he is not afraid of drafting defensive line help that slips due to medical concerns, and with names like Rashan Gary and Montez Sweat now reportedly facing a fall on draft day due to medical matters, the team could once again go back to that well.