It seems to happen every year prior to the NFL Draft. There is a player who might have a questionable injury issue, and although no NFL teams are ‘reg flagging’ the player, some are destined to make it a large issue.
Sometimes those putting fuel on the fire are 100-percent correct, and other times they are completely false.
With linebacker prospect Leighton Vander Esch, the reports of him having a neck issue started when Charlie Campbell of Walter Football posted about Vander Esch being medically flunked and falling down draft boards.
Per sources some teams have medically flunked Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch and have removed him from their draft board. https://t.co/kuNkBf87GF— Charlie Campbell (@DraftCampbell) April 16, 2018
ICMYI- per sources some teams medically flunked Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. Other teams did not, teams split on if he goes in the first round. https://t.co/kuNkBf87GF— Charlie Campbell (@DraftCampbell) April 16, 2018
What followed were a myriad of reports stating the total opposite. The Vander Esch family/team all said he was medically fine, and there was no issue at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Nonetheless, fans of Vander Esch who are hoping the Boise State product goes to their favorite team aren’t sure what to think. Recently, Mike Mayock of the NFL Network chimed in on the situation, and threw more fuel on the fire.
From Mayock's conference call on Leighton Vander Esch:— Paul Emery (@UKDraftFan) April 21, 2018
"He wears that neck brace for a reason. He's got a cervical issue, and teams around the league right now are having the conversation about how bad or good is it really and at what level should we draft him?"
As you can see in the picture at the top of this article, Vander Esch does indeed wear a neck collar when he plays football; however, some players wear one for the safety/comfort it provides them when they play the vicious game of football.
So, who to trust? At this point, the answer is no one. Vander Esch could fall down the draft board, and if he is passed up by several teams in need of a linebacker, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, then you have your answer. But if he is drafted in the mid-to-late part of the first round, then you clearly know the issue wasn’t as bad as many made it out to be.
Guess we all just have to wait and find out at this point...