Medical risks at top of draft

There are players who have various issues coming into the draft each year, and the 49ers have visited with a few first-day prospects recently who could be considered medical risks. Giving those players physicals could have been a reason for bringing them in. Scout.com outlined the players who had character issues last week and this week we'll take a look at some who have some medical issues. Here, we list the players who could be red-flagged and the potential risks involved in selecting them.

Charlie Whitehurst/QB/Clemson: He had shoulder surgery late in 2005. Whitehurst looked good in private workouts for teams and hasn't had any problems passing physicals. Whitehurst is considered a top-5 quarterback by some draft analysts and figures to be one of the first considered once the Big Three of Matt Leinart, Vince Young and Jay Cutler are off the board in the first round.

Ernie Sims/LB/Florida St.: It's no secret that he had some concussion issues in the past but Scout.com has learned he had suffered six concussions in his playing career, and one of them knocked him unconscious. While Sims seems like a rising prospect, in actuality, he could drop quite a bit on draft day. He is one of several prospects who had a visit with the 49ers, and a player the team might target with its No. 22 overall selection in the first round. Sims is one of the fastest linebackers in the draft and could be a fit on the outside of the team's 3-4 scheme.

Jason Allen/CB-S/Tennessee: He suffered a hip injury last October that, despite a solid workout at the NFL Combine, has teams very concerned. Two teams that Scout.com talked to this week said they took Allen off of their draft board because of long-term concerns of his injured hip. The 49ers have indicated they aren't one of those teams. "We were fine with him with his interview and all his stuff, but we brought him back in for a second look at the hip," 49ers VP of player personnel Scot McCloughan said. "It looked good."

Antonio Cromartie/CB/Florida St.: Cromartie missed the entire 2005 season due to a knee injury, but that doesn't seem to have been an issue as he's been passing team physicals throughout the league. The 49ers are definitely in the market for a defensive back, particulary a cornerback, and while opinions vary about the Florida State product, Cromartie is considered one of the best on the board.

Eric Winston/OT/Miami-Fla.: He suffered a knee injury during the 2004 season but hasn't had any problems passing team physicals.

Marcus McNeill/OT/Auburn: He has been diagnosed with Stenosis, which is defined as the narrowing of the spine. While he certainly can play with the condition, teams are concerned with the long-term affects, which is why many see him falling out of the first round.


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