Two years ago, Brian Price was deemed worthy of second-round pick. Now, he’s only worth an undisclosed pick.
The Tampa bay Buccaneers have traded the defensive tackle they drafted with the 35th overall pick in 2010 to the Bears for a mystery pick that will likely turn into a late-round pick. It’s another move by new Bucs head coach Greg Shiano as he shapes his roster, tailored to his style and his scheme, and it’s also a testament to Price’s failure to justify his lofty draft status, largely because of injuries.
Price bounced back somewhat last year, missing only one game while finishing with three sacks and 20 tackles. Seeing any life whatsoever from the former UCLA standout who had seven sacks and 48 tackles during his junior year was encouraging, but far more than merely the act of breathing is expected from a defensive tackle selected in the top 40.
That especially applies when Price was among the 41 players to come off the board ahead of Rob Gronkowski, and significantly more impressive talents at Price’s position like Corey Peters and Geno Atkins (who’s gone to a Pro Bowl) were selected much later. In fairness, the criticism of Price should be limited, because the injury that caused him to play in only five games his rookie year wasn’t of the routine NFL bump and bruise variety.
His friggin pelvis was fractured. As I’m sure to remind you in any post that discusses an injury, my medical degree consists of an expertise in paper cuts. But when the word “fuse” is involved in any procedure, that’s the epitome of pain. Price’s pelvis had to be fused together in such a way that his hamstrings wouldn’t rip off, and as a result he told the Tampa Tribune that he played at below 60 percent last year.
Body parts are designed to fully function in their natural, attached position. When the medical equivalent of welding is necessary, that’s a new level of pain.
(Quick aside that further outlines my lack of injury expertise/decaying physical shape: I went through a painful Charley horse-like experience last week when I was enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon floating in a pool. Reaching the height of relaxation in the glistening sun, I stretched as one does upon first waking up. When I did that, my left leg seized, and I had to dog paddle out of the pool in shame).
So there’s clear and significant injury risk here for the Bears, but that’s been minimized by their low investment. At this point, Price is a high-upside gamble for a Chicago team that’s still pursuing depth in the middle of its front four, and pass rushing help to support Julius Peppers.
Peppers had 11 of Chicago’s 33 sacks in 2011.