Jermaine Gresham was the other player with injury concerns they were reportedly interested in and there was more buzz about him. I recall that Thomas was the player I wanted them to take.
Perhaps the most difficult medical case is Gronkowski, the Arizona tight end who is considered the Ravens' dark horse pick.
Gronkowski missed the 2009 season following back surgery to shave off a disk that was sticking out and onto his spinal cord. Needing six months to recover, he didn't participate at the combine.
NFLDraftScout.com recently reported that an NFL scout had confirmed that Gronkowski has been "red-flagged" by teams due to stenosis, a narrowing of the spine that can cause numbness and leave a person prone to paralysis.
His agent denied the report.
"Every team I have talked to says there are no concerns about his back," agent Drew Rosenhaus said. "He passed his physical at the combine. There are no red flags on him. He is ready to go. The back is not a factor. There's no issue."
"Ozzie has made a living drafting players with injuries," one insider told The Sporting News. "If Demaryius Thomas or Rob Gronkowski are sitting there, they may not get past Baltimore."
So the Ravens did or didn't redflag Gronkowski, depending on who you want to believe.
Rob Gronkowski, just tied the NFL single-season record for touchdown catches by a tight end (13) and looks like a 22-year-old Jason Witten who will be a matchup nightmare for defense for the next decade. An examination shows how being all-in on a player can pay off:
» The background: The Patriots had the 44th pick in the 2010 draft, having already taken Devin McCourty at the bottom of the first round, and were targeting Gronkowski. Afraid Baltimore might take him with the 43rd pick, the Patriots called the Raiders, and gave them a sixth-round pick to move up two spots, leapfrog the Ravens, and grab Gronkowski.
» The twist: The Ravens weren't going to take Gronkowski. The Patriots were right that the Ravens were looking for tight ends (they took Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta later in the draft), but because of his back injury, Baltimore had taken Gronkowski off its board, like many other teams did.
» The lesson: The Patriots did the right thing by being aggressive to get Gronkowski, without question. That sixth-round pick sent to Oakland wound up being Arizona State linebacker Travis Goethel, a spot special teamer as a rookie in 2010 who's spent this season on injured reserve.