In the weeks leading up to the 2008 NFL Draft (April 26-27), BR.com will offer a look into the top prospects by position. This week, it is interior offensive linemen with Maryland's Andrew Crummey.
For three and a half years, Andrew Crummey's strong play anchoring Maryland's offensive line made him a top guard prospect in the 2008 draft class.
Now, Crummey hopes that performance is enough to hold his status.
After stepping into the starting lineup at right guard as a redshirt freshman, Crummey blossomed into a blue chip prospect. He played in 33 games over that span (starting 28), and the 6-foot-5, 299-pounder entered his senior campaign with high expectations.
A 2007 preseason All-American, Crummey broke his left leg inn early October. While he doggedly rehabbed the injury and returned seven weeks later for the Terrapins' final two contests and an appearance in the Emerald Bowl, Crummey fractured the same leg in the East-West Shrine Game in January.
In the span of a few weeks, Crummey envisioned his name tumble down the draft boards, red-flagged as a player with durability questions.
"It was the automatic knee-jerk reaction to say [it cost] at least a couple of rounds," said Crummey, 23. "It could be less; it could be more. We'll have to see what happens. We'll have to see how teams value me now and how they see the injury."
But speaking with him at the recent NFL Combine, as the lineman lumbered around Indianapolis' RCA Dome in a walking boot, one cannot doubt his heart.
Crummey refuses to blame anyone else for the freak injuries. Some said he should have sat out the rest of the season following the first break, but the senior wanted a chance to end his career with a bowl win.
"You can't look back in hindsight," he explained. "I was told that it would take a sufficient hit to the bone to break it again. I played with the information I had. Obviously, it hurts my draft status, but I got to play one more game with my guys in college. I'm not going to speculate."
"We had a lot of injuries on the offensive line," he continued. "We were thin, and we had guys who didn't have much experience playing. As a senior, it's kind of my responsibility to try to play."
He was unable to do anything on the field at the Combine, instead spending most of his time selling his character and experience in interviews with team officials. At Maryland's Pro Day, which occurred March 12, Crummey only performed the bench press, tying for the team lead with 28 repetitions.
Crummey thinks that teams will look at a player's entire body of work, not one or two days of physical exercises.
And, since it is a fractured bone and not a torn ligament or knee injury, Crummey is optimistic he'll have a full recovery.
"It's been fixed. It's a question of timeline, not a question of if it's going to feel right," he said. "I'm still the same player. It's just how teams want to value me. I don't think I'm any less of an investment or any less of a player, but some teams will be worried about it. I can't change that."
The native of Van Wert, Ohio, credits his family – many of whom were on hand each time he was injured – for support during this long and difficult process.
Since his surgery in January, Crummey will have another checkup April 4, but he doesn't expect to have contact until June, optimistically in time for training camps to begin.
Crummey has been through the rehab before, but that doesn't make it any easier. If anything, breaking his leg a second time is even more disappointing, especially considering the timing.
"It was déjà vu," he stated. "I was like, 'How does that happen again?' It's been a tough road, but I can't do anything about it. I just have to wait it out and rehab.
"I've played quite a bit. I have lots of film, and that's what I'm banking on, that teams will look to that in their evaluation process to use that as a grade for me instead of the numbers I can't produce right now."