TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) – Former Alabama left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio says his surgically repaired knee shouldn’t be a red flag for NFL teams.
The potential first-round draft pick said Wednesday after the Crimson Tide’s pro day that he’s heard only from media reports that six teams didn’t clear him because of concerns over his left knee.
Kouandjio said his agent, Bus Cook, called him the night of the combine asking if there was anything wrong with the knee.
“I was completely confused. I said, ‘No, there’s nothing wrong with my knee,'” Kouandjio said. “I thought he was joking. But he kept asking. I was surprised. I was like, ‘There’s nothing wrong with my knee. Is there a rumor out there?’
“And he said, ‘Yeah, a couple of media things came out that there was something wrong with your knee.’ It was interesting, but I never worried about it because I know and the film will tell you there’s nothing wrong with my knee.”
NFL scouts and coaches – including Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis, New Orleans’ Sean Payton and Philadelphia’s Chip Kelly – and several general managers were on hand to see Tide prospects go through workouts including Kouandjio, linebacker C.J. Mosley, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and quarterback AJ McCarron.
Like Kouandjio, the more high-profile prospects mostly stuck to their combine numbers.
The lineman, who entered the draft after his junior season, sustained torn ligaments in his knee after playing in eight games as a freshman in 2011. He started every game the past two seasons, and both he and Tide coach Nick Saban said he didn’t miss a practice because of knee problems.
Kouandjio’s stock has slipped from the first round in mock drafts since the NFL combine. The 6-foot-7, 311-pounder said he’s not fretting over either potentially dropping past the first round or questions about his knee.
“I’m not the type of guy to get frustrated over matters that are out of my control,” said Kouandjio, who had dropped 11 pounds since the combine. “All of these coaches know that there’s nothing wrong with my knee. I played two years. The fourth month after my knee surgery I was out there playing until now. I didn’t miss a practice. I haven’t missed a game because of my knee. All the guys out here, all the coaches know that. It didn’t bother me one bit.”
He worked in position drills on Wednesday while letting his combine performance stand.
Saban, a former Miami Dolphins coach and NFL assistant, said he thinks Kouandjio is a first-round talent and questioned the accuracy – or at least the wording – of reports that he failed physicals.
“The teams we talked to, I can’t find anybody that failed the guy on a physical,” Saban said. “If you don’t understand how people grade players in terms of NFL medical grades, it’s not pass-fail. There are usually five categories that a guy falls in, and if you don’t understand it you shouldn’t be writing about it, because he didn’t really fail.”
Projected first-rounders Mosley and Clinton-Dix have faced fewer questions.
Mosley, a two-time Associated Press All-American, opted to run the 40 at pro day instead of the combine because of a sore hip and knee.
“It’s all about making the right decision and I feel like I made a good decision to wait and work out here,” he said.
The 6-foot-2, 234-pounder grew into an every-down player by his senior season in both pass and run situations after platooning with run-stopper Nico Johnson, and believes he can fill both roles quickly in the NFL.
“It all depends on how I fit into a system,” Mosley said. “Just like at Alabama, I made some mistakes working my way up to that role. The faster I learn the system, the faster I learn the playbook, the faster (coaches) can trust me on the field, the more playing time I’ll get.”
McCarron, who also threw at the combine, went through a scripted series of passes with ex-teammates Kevin Norwood, Kenny Bell and Marquis Maze.
“I’ve been hearing everything about arm strength and deep outs and comebacks,” he said. “I feel like I should silence all that. I threw it deep early in the workout and I threw it deep late. I felt like it was a real good day.”
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