A gruesome injury won't stop former South Carolina star Marcus Lattimore from being the biggest steal of the 2013 NFL draft's Day 2.
He tore his ACL, LCL and PCL—in his right knee—against Tennessee in October, but he is trying to be ready for Week 1 of the NFL season. Tom Klemko of USA TODAY Sports reported that the running back is ahead of schedule and should be ready to play at the start of the season.
It has now been six months since Lattimore went down with a potential career-ending injury. He has been rehabbing in order to show teams that he can still play, but no team was willing to risk a first-round pick on the star.
Teams will regret not drafting him when they had the chance. When he's healthy, he has the potential to be a Pro Bowler. He will still have to prove that his knee is healthy before he plays, but his talent is worth a pick on Day 2.
Lattimore does have a history of injuries though. He suffered a season-ending injury to his left knee in 2011, but he showed that he can rebound and be very productive. Both knees have suffered big injuries, so teams may be wary of a running back with injury concerns.
The 21-year-old has never averaged below 4.5 yards per carry, and he can also catch the ball out of the backfield. He had more than 70 catches to go with more than 550 carries in only three seasons.
As a sophomore in 2011, Lattimore ran for at least 100 yards in four of the seven games he played in and he accomplished that feat three more times as a junior. He also ran for over 180 yards three different times as a freshman.
He has the explosiveness to put a team on his back, so teams should be looking at him as the second round gets going on Friday.
Plenty of teams need running backs still after no ball-carriers were selected in the first round. Teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys could look at Lattimore at some point.
Eddie Lacy is expected to be the first back off the board, but Lattimore is being overlooked because of his injury.
Lattimore has everything that a team could want in a running back. Not only does he have good hands, but he's strong and can hit the hole quickly. He is a good pass-blocker and can be used on any down. He can play on first down or pick up the tough yards in the red zone.
He could fall into the third round, but it's unlikely that he will still be available when the second day is over. With his injury history, it's understandable for teams to be cautious about drafting him. However, he will be a stud for whatever team finally calls his name.
Lattimore will be motivated to prove everyone wrong this season after he looked like a first-round pick during the 2012 season. He has all of the skills needed to be a star in the NFL, so he will be a steal for whatever team picks him on Day 2.
*All stats courtesy of ESPN.com
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