UCLA linebacker Myles Jack finds his draft stock falling at perhaps the least opportune time — the day of the 2016 NFL Draft.
With the first round of the draft taking place Thursday night, the NFL world seems to be getting cold feet on Jack, long considered one of the top prospects.
Jack was one of the best defensive players in the country when he tore his meniscus in September 2015. He decided to withdraw from UCLA that fall to focus on the draft, making him one of the greater mysteries, as nobody has seen him play in almost eight months.
There’s been some hesitancy about where to take Jack, given his injury history. On Wednesday, Jack didn’t do himself any favours by telling the New York Post that he may have to get microfracture surgery down the line.
“[The degenerative problems are] there, but it’s nothing extreme. Down the line, possibly I could have microfracture surgery — potentially. Who knows what will happen?
“Nobody knows how long anybody is going to play in this league. To play three years in this league would be above average.”
On the potential of falling down in the draft, Jack said, “I would understand if I fell. This is a talented draft class, so if I was to fall, I wouldn’t take it personally.”
While it’s an honest admission from Jack, and perhaps respectable not to fool teams about his health, it hasn’t helped his draft stock. As of April 19, our consensus mock draft had Jack going fifth to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, he’s tumbling.
NFL.com’s Mike Mayock has Jack going 14th to the Oakland Raiders. ESPN’s Todd McShay has Jack going 16th to the Detroit Lions. SB Nation’s Dan Kadar has Jack going 14th to the Raiders. CBS’s Will Brinson has Jack going 13th to the Cleveland Browns (in a hypothetical trade between the Browns and Dolphins).
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King predicted Jack to go in the top 15, with the New York Giants at No. 10 his best guess. However, NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan reported a source told him the Giants, one of the hungriest teams for pass-rushers, would pass on Jack, needing a sure-thing with the tenth pick in the draft. Jack is just too risky.
Of course, nobody truly knows the inner workings of NFL front offices, and when teams are on the clock, they might take a swing at Jack for his incredible talent. But as of now, Jack is falling fast as teams fear whether he can stay on the field.