I was reading through How the Medicals Affect a Players Draft Stock from The National Football Post by Greg Gabriel, and I got some information out of it that I thought would be good to know for aspiring NFL players.

The article is about how the medical evaluations that go on at the Combine can affect a player’s draft stock.

Related: Bounce Back Faster! 5 Essentials of Athletic Injury Management


Today, I’ll be sharing the lessons I personally got from the article.

Even though this information won’t necessarily help increase your chances of landing in the NFL, I thought it would still be good

Gaines Adams’ death caused NFL teams to look even closer at the medical histories of prospects.  (ICON Sports)

information to know.

As Gabriel mentioned in this article, other than character, a player’s medical evaluation is the other major factor that can make a player’s draft stock can drop.

Lesson #1: Different Teams Look at Your Medical Results Differently


As is the case with character evaluations, different NFL teams look at different medical situations differently.

Which is only right, when you think about it; after all, these are “human beings” that are making these assessments within the NFL organizations.

Each team and decision maker have their own set of experiences and situations they’ve encountered when it comes to dealing with players that came into the NFL with pre-existing injuries.

Related: Bet You Didn’t Know NFL Scouts Look for Some of this Stuff…



Let’s say a specific NFL team drafted a player in the recent past that had the same exact injury that a current prospect has, and it didn’t work out.

Due to their experiences in the past, that team might pass on another player with a similar medical situation, since they were “burned” before.

Another team, on the other hand, might not look at the same injury the same way.  They might be willing to draft the player regardless.

According to Gabriel, when teams think on whether or not they want to pass on a player due to an injury, they think about things like whether or not the player’s played with the injury, how well the player’s played with the injury, and the chances of that injury getting worse in the future.


Lesson #2: What Doctor’s Look For When They’re Examining Surgically Repaired Joints


Reading Gabriel’s article I learned what the doctor’s check for when they’re examining joints that you’ve had surgery on in the past.


They check it for arthritis, and check it to see if it’s stable.

If the joint is tight, with no signs of arthritis, chances are that they’ll deem your surgery successful, and they won’t worry about it much.

If it’s loose, NFL teams will look at this as a sign that you might need another surgery in the near future.

From there, they take educated guesses on how long you might be able to play on it before you need another procedure done on it.

If they find arthritis, they look to see if it’s degenerative, or mild.

As Gabriel explained, degenerative arthritis means it’s going to get worse and worse with wear and tear.

As you guessed, if it’s degenerative, that could very well hurt your draft stock.

Related: What Every NFL Hopeful Should Know About the NFL Draft Part 2


Lesson #3: Red Flagging – Defined


From how I interpreted Gabriel’s article, it sounds like NFL teams will react in one of three ways to your medical results.

They’ll either pass you as completely healthy, or they’ll “red flag” you.

If you’re “red flagged,” the team either A) downgrades your draft stock, due to the level of risk they’d have to assume if they drafted you, or they B) drop you from consideration altogether.


Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you went into the Combine as a projected second rounder, and a team downgrades your draft stock.

They’re basically saying that, because of your health risk, they’d much rather risk late-round signing bonus money on you, than second round bonus money on you.

Alternatively, the team could drop you from consideration altogether.

The discernment between whether you get just downgraded, or dropped from consideration altogether goes back to Lesson #1 above; it all depends on the team, and their experiences in the past dealing with such issues with players.


Lesson #4: Teams Look Into Family Medical History


Gabriel explained that the death of Gaines Adams back in 2010 influenced medical staff’s to look harder for internal health issues, including examining a player’s family’s health history:

When examining a player’s medical record, teams will look at family history of heart conditions, cancer, etc., to see if the player may have a medical condition that he previously didn’t know about. There have been times when a condition has been discovered and because it was discovered early it can be treated and the prospect continues to play football without problems.

It’s actually in your best interest that they check for these things, because they could very well catch something that you didn’t know was there before.


Lesson #5: They Check Your Concussion History


As Gabriel mentioned, they will go as far back as high school to research your history with concussions.

If they find that you’ve had too many concussions, your draft stock can drop.

Again, not sure how or if this’ll help you make it to the NFL, but hopefully you learned something, nonetheless.  I know I did by reading Gabriel’s article.

Speaking of concussions, interesting piece on concussions in the NFL, from ABC News:

Talk soon.

Related: Preventing Concussions in Football – What Every Football Player Should Know – Part 1


This isn’t the most entertaining of topics, but it’s the real deal about a very real topic that could affect your chances of playing on Sundays, so I thought I’d bring it up.

Questions?  Concerns?  Comments on this topic?  Leave a comment below.  Part two, is coming soon.

Follow me on Twitter!  @alvingrier


Web Reference:

How the Medicals Affect a Players Draft Stock (via National Football Post) 

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