After the college football season ended Jarvis Jones was considered at top five prospect at worst and was expected to be gone by the third pick in the draft. However, medical issues and a poor workout at the Georgia football Pro Day have dropped his draft stock. He is now expected to possibly be on the board when the Steelers pick at seventeen and former-Cowboy’s scout Gil Brandt thinks he will fall out of the first round all-together.
That is looking more and more like a possibility at this point as everything that comes out about Jones sheds more of a shadow on a player once considered the top defensive prospect in this year’s draft. While playing for USC Jones suffered a weight lifting accident and was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. The USC medical staff would not clear him to play football and told him to end his football career then and there.
Jones instead transferred to Georgia who cleared him to return to football and he played his final two years for the Bulldogs. Over those two seasons Jones was one of the most dominant defensive players in college football and did it in the most competitive conference, the SEC. Even so, concerns about his neck continue to follow him and some NFL teams have been reported as being worried about his medical red flags.
To attempt and clear his name of medical worries Jones was cleared by Craig Brigham. Brigham is a spinal surgeon and has links to the NFL and has worked with previous NFL players. However, today it is being reported by the USA Today that Brigham is being sued by former NFL star Samari Rolle who played for the Tennessee Titans.
Rolle went to Brigham for a spinal-fusion procedure and is suing him for “a premature green light to return to football activities and overall “negligence” combined to end Rolle’s career and led to ‘permanent neurological injuries.’” Rolle retired from the NFL in 2010, but never played another snap after 2008 when he had the surgery performed by Brigham. Brigham released Rolle for full activity after only 23 days.
Rolle claims he continued to experience stiffness in his neck as well as pain, numbness and tingling in his “upper left extremity” through the following spring and summer. Brigham examined Rolle once more and, according to the complaint, Brigham determined there was a “good union” between the vertebrae.
The complaint states Rolle then went for a second opinion and claims he was told by that doctor there was a “nonunion” between the vertebrae and that he should discontinue his NFL career.
Brigham has been working with Jones to get his name medically cleared leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft. He wrote letters to NFL teams on Jones’ behalf telling them that he was refutting the diagnosis of the USC doctors and that he would clear Jones for a full return to football. This was reported earlier in the off-season and Brigham said that he believed Jones suffered a stinger and had recovered a long time ago.
However, Rolle’s lawsuit has to make you wonder if Brigham is the best guy to be listening to on the topic. With his dependability now in question Jones’ draft stock could take yet another hit and he may experience a Da’Quan Bowers-like fall during the 2013 NFL Draft. Bowers was considered a possibility for the number one overall pick in 2011, but fell all the way to pick 51 because of concerns over his off-season knee injury. Jones could be looking at a similar fall and may be available for the Steelers in the second round at this point, but with medical red flags the Steelers may have already taken him off of their draft board.