Mel Kiper says Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandjio is riskiest lineman in draft

Tuesday April 1st, 2014

Mel Kiper calls Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandijo the riskiest lineman in the draft Cyrus Kouandijo saw his draft stock fall after an underwhelming junior year. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio entered the 2013 college football season as one of the early favorites to establish himself worthy of the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but he failed to live up to the expectations and is now considered a borderline first-round pick.

Along with the disappointing season on the field, there are some medical red flags that have teams concerned, and ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes Kouandjio is the biggest question mark among the offensive and defensive lineman prospects in this year's draft.

NFL Mock Draft 3.0: Johnny Manziel shoots to No. 1 after impressive pro day

"For one, there are questions about how well he'll hold up physically, particularly with his knees, and his injury history isn't completely clean," Kiper wrote in his column.

"Secondly, he didn't really take a step forward in performance this season, with some sloppiness in his technique, and I'd say his run blocking is ahead of his pass blocking at this point. He was once a first-round lock, but if he goes there now, I'd call it a bit of a risk."

Kouandjio's medical concerns stem from an ACL and MCL tear that he suffered during his freshman season, and doctors and Alabama staff members have come to his defense in response to a report that the knee history had caused him to fail multiple teams' physicals.

If Kouandjio can eventually push past his injury concerns to live up to the talent he showed early during his career with the Crimson Tide, he will be a steal late in the first round or early in the second.

2014 NFL draft position rankings: Travis Swanson tops among centers
SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.