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 wideouts, with Texas' Limas Sweed topping the list.
At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Limas Sweed has the size to be a prototype wide receiver in the NFL. His career statistics – 124 receptions for 1,915 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns – attest to his superior athletic ability.
But, despite his stature and talent, a pesky wrist injury could cloud his draft status.
Sweed hurt his left wrist in spring drills before his senior campaign, a road bump that would bother him throughout the offseason. After extensive rehab, the preseason All-American and All-Big 12 selection struggled through his first six contests in 2007.
His final year at Texas came to an inauspicious close, as surgery shelved him for the last seven games.
As Sweed prepares for the Longhorns' Pro Day, which takes place Wednesday, he feels his wrist is close to a full recovery.
That wasn't the case before January's Senior Bowl, where the standout prospect suffered a scare when LSU linebacker Chevis Jackson grabbed Sweed's wrist in a routine practice.
Sweed eventually saw it as a blessing.
"It was one-on-ones, and a guy came and grabbed my hand and bent it down to about 70 percent when it wasn't ready to, so you can imagine the pain. That was Day One," he said at the NFL Combine. "So. I came back for Day Two and was thinking it wouldn't happen again, but the same guy did it again. And that was when I decided it was time to shut it down.
"It wasn't a re-injury, it was just a breaking up of the scar tissue, which actually helped me recover quicker – so I want to really thank the guy."
Barring any mishaps on further medical examinations, however, Sweed's expectations of hearing his name called early shouldn't be in danger, as many draft analysts have him going in the latter half of the first round.
Much of that has to do with his exceptional talents on the field. Following a redshirt year in 2003, Sweed broke out in the final seven games of 2004 and never relinquished that starting position at split end. He rattled off 39 consecutive contests until his injury in 2007.
Although he wasn't able to perform some of the workouts at the Combine, Sweed made sure to turn heads when he did lace up the cleats, clocking a 4.46 40-yard dash.
In a copycat league that has seen larger wide receivers have recent success, Sweed thinks it's the perfect time for a player of his stature.
"Without a doubt, I look at guys like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Roy Williams – even Calvin Johnson," he explained. "Seeing those guys have success makes me excited because some of those guys I've looked up to growing up, and now it's my time. It's my time to show the NFL and the world what I can do."
The world will be watching for Sweed to show he's fully recovered in Austin this week, where the confident and well-spoken 23-year-old is looking to answer any and all questions.
"Things happen and that's life," he said. "I would say [the Senior Bowl mishap] was a minor setback for a major comeback."