NFL Draft

Steelers Draft Study: 1st-Round Picks And Games Missed During Final College Season

With the 2018 NFL Draft now less than three weeks away there is continuing chatter concerning former Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans and him failing to run his 40-yard-dash this offseason. Whether or not Evans’ past groin injuries are still causing him problems doesn’t seem to be known and at the time of this post there’s no indication he’ll be asked to return to Indianapolis for a combine medical re-check.

The fact that Evans missed two games in 2017 and one other in 2016 because of groin injuries got me thinking about the Pittsburgh Steelers and their former first-round selections as it relates to how many games each missed during their final college season. I went back through the college statistical archives and dating back to 2000, the first year in Pittsburgh for current general manager Kevin Colbert, only two former first-round selections, safety Troy Polamalu and outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, missed games due to injuries during their final college season.

Polamalu, drafted by the Steelers in 2003, missed one game during the USC 2002 season due to a high ankle sprain. As for Jones, the Steelers first-round selection in 2013, he missed two games during his final 2012 season at Georgia because of groin and ankle injuries. Those two games missed were not consecutive, by the way.

When you fast forward to several prospects linked as possibly being the Steelers first-round selection this year, Evans and Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates III are the two players that instantly come to mind as it relates to 2017 games missed due to injuries and both missed consecutive games at that. Evans, as already noted, missed his two games with a groin injury while Bates missed back-to-back games with a knee injury.

As we’ve already seen at the annual scouting combine and his ensuing pro day, Bates’ knee looks fully recovered as evidenced by his pSPARQ score of 116.2. As for Evans’ combine results, however, they really weren’t anything to write home about and that makes you wonder if he still has lingering issues with his groin.

Games Played By Steelers Former First-Round Draft Picks During Final College Season

Plaxico Burress (Michigan State) 12 of 12
Casey Hampton (Texas) 11 of 11
Kendall Simmons (Auburn) 11 of 11
Troy Polamalu (USC) 12 of 13 (ankle)
Ben Roethlisberger (Miami, Ohio) 14 of 14
Heath Miller (Virginia) 12 of 12
Santonio Holmes (Ohio State) 12 of 12
Lawrence Timmons (Florida State) 13 of 13
Rashard Mendenhall (Illinois) 13 of 13
Ziggy Hood (Missouri) 14 of 14
Maurkice Pouncey (Florida) 14 of 14
Cameron Heyward (Ohio State) 13 of 13
David DeCastro (Stanford) 13 of 13
Jarvis Jones (Georgia) 12 of 14 (groin, ankle)
Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) 14 of 14
Bud Dupree (Kentucky) 12 of 12
Artie Burns (Miami) 13 of 13
T.J. Watt (Wisconsin) 14 of 14

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