If you were asked to rank the most devastating NFL preseason injuries to date, odds are your top three would include – in some order – Jordy Nelson (torn ACL), Kelvin Benjamin (torn ACL) and Maurkice Pouncey (ankle).
It would be hard to argue with that.
After all, Nelson finished fourth in the NFL in receiving yards (1,519) and second in touchdowns (13) last season, Benjamin had 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie, and Pouncey, 26, has been a Pro Bowler in four of the last five seasons.
And yet, none of those injuries were quite as catastrophic as the torn ACL suffered by Orlando Scandrick.
“I think probably the Dallas Cowboys really jump out to me,” former NFL player and current NFL analyst Ross Tucker said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I’m not sure people realize how good Orlando Scandrick really is. I know their pass rush will be better and they believe they have more depth at corner now that they drafted Byron Jones in the first round, and they like what they’ve seen from the youngster, Tyler Patmon, as well. But I think you can make a case that Orlando Scandrick was the best corner in the NFC East last year – maybe the last couple years along with Prince Amukamara – so that’s a really, really big loss.
“You look at Green Bay,” Tucker continued. “They can work around Jordy Nelson. Aaron Rodgers is still gong to have 300 yards passing (and) a couple touchdowns (every week). They’re going to find a way to move the ball and score points in different ways. I think you can adjust more offensively than you can defensively when you lose by far your top cover corner.”
Indeed, and while Nelson is a better, more proven receiver than Benjamin, the loss of the Florida State product casts a much bigger shadow – and not just because he’s 6-5, 245.
“The Benjamin one is a big one because they don’t have great depth at wide receiver,” Tucker said. “I think if anything, they’re probably pretty happy that they drafted Devin Funchess now in the second round. When they did that, I looked at it and thought, ‘Why are they drafting Devin Fuchess? He’s so similar to Kelvin Benjamin – both really big targets that maybe don’t run great routes.’ And I didn’t really understand sort of the logic behind it, but now it makes a lot more sense now that Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL. That’s obviously not what their intention was, but boy, I bet they’re glad they drafted Funchess now. And they’ve got other guys – (Jerricho) Cotchery, Corey Brown – that they can kind of fill in around Funchess as well. So all is not lost. It’s a big loss, but they’ll still be okay, I think.”