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Reading the NFL Draft Tea Leaves: The Truth About Leighton Vander Esch

Somebody is lying about the Boise State product

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles have been targeting linebacker depth throughout and pre-draft process, and one of their official visits was the subject of an interesting rumor today.

Charlie Campbell of Walter Football sent a buzz through the draft community when he had the following to say about Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch:

“Sources from four teams said they felt Vander Esch belongs on the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft and would go there. Two other team sources thought Vander Esch could go late in the first round. One team that flunked him medically said they had a third-round grade on Vander Esch before the medical report ruled him out.” - Charlie Campbell

This revelation flew directly in the face of previous reports that teams, notably the Tennessee Titans, canceled a visit with Vander Esch due to his soaring draft stock after annihilating the NFL Combine. The Titans pick at 25th overall, and the expectation is that Vander Esch will be gone around the teens in the 2018 NFL Draft. Confirmation of the Titans canceled visit came from Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst.

Chris Mortensen of ESPN, ever the opportunist, jumped in on the conjecture by adding his two cents, which he mysteriously had not leaked to the public previously.

The flood gates opened to dispel the rumor, including Vander Esch’s camp denying any medical concerns while bringing additional context.

Edholm would later report for Pro Football Weekly that the neck injury in question was a “stinger”, a common neck injury that led to a pinched nerve in Vander Esch’s neck. This occurred in his sophomore season; no structural damage was found and no significant concussion was suffered. Edholm also shared Vander Esch’s combine medical report, which was backed up by Ian Rapoport.

“The combine medical report gave Vander Esch a medical grade of 4 out of a possible 5 — the lower the number, the more concerning the player’s injury status is. A five would be a fully healthy player with no known medical issues; typically players are only red-flagged if they receiver lower than a 3 on the combine report.” - Eric Edholm

In conclusion, unless any new information comes to light about Vander Esch that several members of the media missed, it’s looking like someone has been caught with their pants on fire.

[Related reading: Eagles ‘would love to’ pick Leighton Vander Esch in the 2018 NFL Draft]

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