Safety becomes draft's first big ‘faller'

Mark Barron (BamaMag)

Safety Mark Barron's double hernia surgery will likely see him fall further in the first round as he misses the NFL Scouting Combine and Alabama's pro day. Will it affect him enough to make him a gift for the Vikings?

As the NFL draft approaches, the stock of players is going to rise and fall for a lot of reasons. Some saw their stock catapult or take a significant hit by how they performed at the college all-star games. Many more will see their standing go up or down markedly at the NFL Scouting Combine in two weeks. The same will be true during school pro days and individual workouts.

The reality of the NFL draft is that two, three or four years of playing college football and countless hours of film of what a player is capable of can be affected in a day – either a poor performance at the combine, a pro day or an off-putting interview.

Had Adrian Peterson been healthy at the time of the draft in 2007, there is no chance that he would have been available when the Vikings picked at No. 7. But, when you're making a lottery pick, the last thing a team wants is a player who is viewed as damaged goods before he comes to the NFL.

It would appear that the first casualty of the 2012 draft has been announced – Alabama safety Mark Barron.

Barron, whom Viking Update had going in the middle of the first round of Version 1.0 of our annual mock draft, underwent double hernia surgery. The timing for Barron couldn't be worse.

The timetable being given for his recovery is two months. It doesn't take a math whiz to figure out that, even if he is ahead of schedule in his recovery process, Barron will not only miss the combine in two weeks, but the Alabama Pro Day will be March 7 – less than a month into the healing process. In short, Barron's stock has to drop.

The best he can hope for at this point is to let his game tape do his talking for him. He won't be able to participate in the two marquee events to showcase a player's talent. He may be able to do private workouts with teams in the days leading up to the draft, but, given the timetable for recovery – there isn't much in the way of getting into top physical shape when hernias have been surgically repaired. At a minimum, he will likely be pushing himself to recover more quickly than he should and may end up making a difficult situation worse.

We're not doctors or general managers, but when VU does its second incarnation of our mock draft, there is a very strong chance that Barron will either go very late in the first round or potentially still be available when the Vikings pick in the second round.

If Rick Spielman doesn't assign too big a red flag to Barron, the potential exists that a player who appeared to be surely gone by the time the Vikings make their pick in the second round might now have a chance of still being there. Watch film on Barron. If he is available when the Vikings pick, he could be a gift just as an injured Peterson was in 2007.

SATURDAY NOTES

  • It was 20 years ago Friday that Ron Wolf earned his stripes. On Feb. 10, 1992, Wolf cut a deal with the Falcons to give up a first-round pick to trade for the Falcons' third-string quarterback – a hard-drinking, crazy, fun-loving kid named Brett Favre. That decision would change the fortunes of both teams and show how valuable trading a draft pick could be … and how much historical impact that roll of the dice could have.

  • On the subject of Favre and aging quarterbacks, there is a lot of buzz surrounding the anticipated release of Peyton Manning and what impact that could have. Historically, Hall of Fame quarterbacks that have gone to other teams do so with feeble knees and shoulders. Given Favre's 2009 success with the Vikings, the willingness to pay Manning a huge sum to be a one-year professional mercenary is heightened – especially if he becomes available before full free agency begins.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.


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