Myles Jack likely would have been a first-round pick if not for a bizarre admission just before the start of the 2016 NFL Draft. Less than 24 hours before the Los Angeles Rams went on the clock, he gave a subdued prognosis of his bothersome knee injury, saying he may need microfracture surgery in the future and that he would understand if teams passed on him.
They did. SB Nation's Dan Kadar ranked the linebacker (and sometimes running back and defensive back) as the No. 4 overall player in this year's class. That's in line with where many other media outlets projected him. Jack is unanimously one of the best young football players in the world, and as of Friday afternoon he cannot be selected higher than No. 32 overall.
Longevity concerns about players are legitimate, except it appears that Jack may have oversold how dire his situation actually is. On Friday, the highly respected orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews reportedly told Jack that he would not need surgery.
Dr. James Andrews, who examined Myles Jack in December, told the UCLA LB today that he does not need micro-fracture surgery.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 29, 2016
This news is puzzling for a number of reasons:
1) Why is Jack getting this news one day after the first round of the NFL Draft?
The timing of this news could not be worse for the linebacker. Did Dr. Andrews know the results Thursday and not tell Jack? Jack has been recovering from a torn meniscus since September. Couldn't teams have been given a prognosis long before the draft started?
2) Why was Jack talking so candidly about his injury in the first place?
Sports writers and fans may gripe about the canned answers that athletes give to media, but athletes give those answers for good reason. Jack only stood to lose by being so open. He easily could have said that he is still waiting on results without going into specifics. From what we know now, he would have been telling the truth!
3) Is there something else going on?
On Thursday, we wrote that Jack may have had a promise that he would be drafted by a particular team with whom he fit well. Some have also suggested that Jack may have been trying to cash in on an insurance policy, which will reportedly start paying out to him if he falls to No. 45 or below.
Now that Jack has fallen out of the first round, however, it doesn't seem likely that a promise ever existed. And the theory about the insurance policy doesn't make sense, given that he may still get picked before No. 45 (especially in light of Friday's news) and that he would have made much more money if he had been picked in the top half of the first round like everyone expected.
It seems like Jack was just as blindsided by the news as the rest of us
So what happened? The simplest explanation may be that a lot of people did a poor job of communicating. Jack may have misunderstood his own injury situation, and being an honest man, was candid with media. He probably could have been coached better by his representation. It's still baffling that he would have to wait until this day in particular to get an official prognosis on his injury.
None of this makes much sense, but the good news is that Jack has the talent and, now, the bill of health to make the millions he just lost relatively insignificant in the long run.
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