December 20, 2014

Elyria
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NFL Combine Day 3: Health a concern for top prospects, Browns candidates

INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, Oregon outside linebacker Dion Jordan and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner will have to overcome health concerns for the Browns to consider them with the No. 6 pick.

Jones was diagnosed with spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the spine — in 2009 at USC and teams are worried about his long-term future. Jordan and Milliner will have shoulder surgeries to repair a torn labrum. The rehab is expected to take three or four months.

“We will put a lot of weight in the recommendations from our medical staff on any player, whether it’s a particular serious injury or whether it’s just a history of a lot of small injuries,” Browns CEO Joe Banner said Saturday. “I don’t know how many teams do this, but we will put a grade for durability on every player in free agency and the draft, and that will be a factor in what we do.”

Jones spent most of Saturday meeting with team doctors and getting MRIs.

“I wanted to see all the doctors so they can see I’m healthy,” he said. “I haven’t gotten the final word yet, but most of the doctors feel like I’m fine.”

Jordan and Milliner will go through workouts at the combine, except for the bench press, then head to the doctor and hope to be ready for training camp.

Jordan (6-6½, 248 pounds) said he was hurt during the season but able to keep playing.

“I went and made a tackle the wrong way,” he said. “They say you shouldn’t arm tackle and I got the worst of it. But you know, I’ve dealt with it, I only missed one game last season, and I feel like it shows my toughness, that I finished the season, I stayed true to my team and I made sure as a leader, as a senior of our team, it shows I’m willing to win and do what it takes to compete.”

THORNTON TAKES FIELD

Illinois guard Hugh Thornton, an Oberlin High graduate, had his day on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf Saturday. He ran a solid 40-yard dash (5.11 seconds) and looked agile in the three-cone drill (7.45). He did the 20-yard shuttle in 4.63 and bench pressed 225 pounds 27 times.

Thornton is expected to go somewhere from the second to fifth round.