The general manager gets the credit – or the blame. But when it comes to taking prospects with significant medical questions in the NFL draft, the person turning in the card is only part of the equation.
Mark Dominik, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager in 2009-13, learned that the hard way in his second year as GM, when team doctors deemed a tight end he loved as a prospect, Arizona’s Rob Gronkowski, undraftable because of a bad back.
Dominik took wide receiver Arrelious Benn with the 39th pick of the 2010 draft. The New England Patriots grabbed Gronkowski at Pick 42.
Ten years later, Gronkowski is retired after a Hall of Fame-worthy career and Dominik can only wonder "what if."
“Our orthopedic doctor said you can’t touch him,” Dominik, now an analyst for SiriusXM NFL radio, said in a conference call this week. “But our orthopedic doctor I’m sure saved me on Jahvid Best, the running back that Detroit took (with the 30th pick of the 2010 draft) because of the concussions. He’s like, ‘You can’t take him.’ So you just roll with it and you have to trust your orthopedic staff. Everybody (blames) the GM or the head coach on busting on a pick or not taking a guy, but it’s a whole team behind a pick, not just one person.”