By John McMullen, NFL Editor - Archive - Email
Florida State's 'Tank' to make one last push
Cornellius Carradine (L) Cornellius Carradine's draft status will depend on the condition of his surgically repaired knee.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Bjoern Werner was supposed to be the Florida State defensive end selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Once a top-five prospect, Werner has been slowing moving down on most draft boards as concerns over his burst and closing speed off the edge start to seep in with various scouts.

That said, Werner's non-stop motor will more than likely earn him a spot as one of the top 32 players selected on April 25 at New York City's famed Radio City Music Hall. He also might have some company, though.

Just as Werner began to fall this spring, his teammate with the Seminoles, Cornelius "Tank" Carradine, started opening some eyes.

A healthy Carradine, who is coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in the Seminoles' season finale against Florida, is regarded by most as a first-round talent. His draft status, however, will depend on the condition of his surgically repaired knee, something he will test at a workout in Cincinnati on Saturday just four months out from his surgery.

"It was a real difficult, coming out because of an injury to Brandon (Jenkins), then ended up starting, then I get hurt," Carradine said when taking about his 2012 season. "I ended up playing the whole season and I think I did a pretty good job of helping my team out, even though I got hurt."

Carradine was unable to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine or Florida State's pro day, although he did lift in Tallahassee, putting up 225 pounds an impressive 32 times.

He's expected to run the 40-yard dash and perform some positional drills in Cincinnati for scouts and coaches in a last-ditch effort to prove he is worth investing a first-round pick in.

The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens and NFC kingpin San Francisco 49ers are among several NFL teams scheduled to take a look at Carradine on the weekend before the draft.

Adrian Peterson's remarkable return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament last season magnifies just how far treatment of knee injuries has advanced since the turn of the century.

A torn ACL was once regarded as a devastating, potentially career-changing injury, especially for players who rely on tremendous athleticism like Carradine.

The timetable for a torn ACL was once a full calendar year with most doctors agreeing an athlete would need a full two years before feeling like themselves again.

Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings star running back, returned just nine months after his injury and compiled one of the best seasons in NFL history en route to winning MVP honors.

Taking no chances, Carradine has been working out in Houston with the same physical therapist who monitored Peterson's amazing recovery, and plenty of NFL teams have taken an interest in his status.

Carradine has already had personal visits with the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. He reportedly interviewed with 17 different teams at the combine and some mock draft have him coming off the board as high as No. 19 overall to the New York Giants.

"I hear stuff," Carradine said when asked about his possible landing spot. "I really don't pay it no attention, I know with my knee situation you never know how things are going to work out."

Regarded as a scheme-versatile prospect by most, Carradine could fit in as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense or continue to excel as a traditional defensive end in a 4-3 like he played at Florida State. His size -- 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds with the frame to add more weight -- make the 4-3 a better fit, however.

When healthy, Carradine flashed an impressive first step and was able to use his lengthy arms well in an effort to beat blocks. He also showed the flexibility to dip under a tackle's reach and the closing speed some think Werner lacks.

"I'm a guy that's got a motor, a guy that is physical against the run, disruptive against the pass, and a guy that can shoot through gaps, and a guy that's just all over the field," Carradine said when asked about his strengths as a player.

There is still work to be done and some consider Carradine a bit raw since most of his experience came in the junior college ranks. He is also overpowered at times in the trenches and needs to read snap counts a little better, something Carradine recognizes.

"I think (I need to work on) refining my technique and everything, just working on getting a little quicker off the ball."

In the end, though, Tank's position in the draft will be dictated by his knee, and how healthy it looks over the weekend.

"I'm healed and I'm ready to go for this year," the possible first-round pick said.

THE 2013 NFL DRAFT: TSN'S TOP DEFENSIVE ENDS:

1. - Ezekiel Ansah, BYU

2. - Bjoern Werner, Florida State

3. - Tank Carradine, Florida State

4. - Datone Jones, UCLA

5. - Margus Hunt, SMU

6. - Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

7. - Sam Montgomery, LSU

8. - Lavar Edwards, LSU

9. - Alex Okafor, Texas

10. - Cornelius Washington, Georgia

SKILL REPORT: THE DEFENSIVE ENDS

Best Edge Rusher: Ezekiel Ansah, BYU

Best Bull Rusher: Sam Montgomery, LSU

Best 3-4 end: Datone Jones, UCLA

Best Run Stopper: Damion Square, Alabama

Best Motor: Bjoern Werner, Florida State

Fastest: Cornelius Washington, Georgia

Underrated: John Simon, Ohio State

THE 2013 NFL DRAFT: TSN'S TOP DEFENSIVE TACKLES:

1. - Star Loutulelei, Utah

2. - Shariff Floyd, Florida

3. - Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

4. - Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

5. - Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State

6. - John Jenkins, Georgia

7. - Jesse Williams, Alabama

8. - Kawann Short, Purdue

9. - Akeem Spence, Illinois

10. - Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern

SKILL REPORT: THE DEFENSIVE TACKLES

Best Pass Rusher: Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

Best Run Stopper: Star Loutulelei, Utah

Best Nose Tackle: Star Loutulelei, Utah

Best Motor: Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern

Quickest: Shariff Floyd, Florida

Underrated: Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern

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