Stanford wideout Chris Owusu was one of Andrew Luck's favorite targets before he went down with a concussion early in the season for the Cardinal, than sustained another only three weeks later. That marks the third concussion he's had in the last 13 months, and according to Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter, it is seriously hampering his draft stock, possibly leaving his name uncalled come this weekend during the NFL draft.
The 6-foot, 196-pound senior missed a large chunk of the 2011-12 season due to these concussion, even missing the Fiesta Bowl and the Senior Bowl because of it, two great stages to put your talents on display. He's been cleared by a pair of doctors, including ones at Scouting Combine back in February, though NFL teams remain weary of players with history's such as Owusu's:
"He's off our board," says one general manager. "He was from the start. It wouldn't matter if he was RG3, he'd still be off our board. With that kind of history it's not worth the risk of him being seriously injured, especially with all the attention you're going to receive. If you draft him you're going to be under the microscope the whole time. Every time he gets hit it's going to be magnified tenfold."
Most executives, according to Trotter, view Owusu as a 'value pick'; essentially a player will too much talent to pass on, but wil only be considered for the taking much later in the draft. One general manager told Trotter Owusu has third-round talent, but is more of a seventh-round pick because of his concussive past.
With all the medical world has learned about concussions and their affect on the human body long-term, it's easy to see why teams would think twice before selecting player's prone to them, it's just not good business. Though according to Dr Robert Cantu, the co-chair of the NFL's Head Neck and Spine Committee, some things the public adhere to about concussions are just not true.
"In my 40-plus years of seeing individuals with concussions, there's no question that there are some people that can be concussed with forces at a lower level than other people," says Dr. Cantu, "We've seen it more prominently in our boxers, in terms of the 'glass jaw' syndrome. But generally speaking in the people that I've followed, if they've been properly managed, if they've truly gotten over their concussion completely, it's not been my clinical experience that people that have had a concussion necessarily are more likely to have more of them than other people in the same sport that they're playing...Many people falsely think that if you've had a concussion your next one is going to be worse. That's not true."
Owusu's clearance to play is a great sign that he is healthy and ready to go, but this unfortunate stigma may keep him from making the money he should as a higher-round draft pick. Nevertheless, some team may get one hell of a steal from the talented wide out later down the line in this year's draft.