Brian Baldinger isn't concerned about Landon Dickerson's medical history
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NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger was on 93.7 The Fan yesterday and was bullish on Alabama running back Najee Harris and center Landon Dickerson.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein recently said that a former Steelers running back coach told him that Harris reminds him of Le'Veon Bell when he was coming out, and former NFL scout Matt Williamson also said recently that Harris reminds him of Bell. Baldinger also sees similarities with Harris and the former Steelers All-Pro running back.
“He reminds me of Le’Veon Bell when he came out of Michigan State,” Baldinger said of Harris. “He was a great receiver, great route runner. Obviously ran the ball really well for five or six years in Pittsburgh. And I think Najee’s very similar to that."
He also dismissed the notion that Harris is the next Eddie Lacy.
“I don’t see Najee Harris being that guy and he catches the ball way better than Eddie Lacy ever caught it,” Baldinger said.
Dickerson is considered by many as the ultimate boom-or-bust player in this year's draft. It has nothing to do with Dickerson's play, however, as he's physical and nasty and does a great job of getting up to the second level, but it has everything to do with his medical history.
Dickerson suffered two ACL injuries in his college career and is recovering from an ACL tear right now from this past season at Alabama. He's also sustained season-ending ankle injuries in 2017 and 2018 when he was at Florida State.
According to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, "several teams" would avoid Dickerson until after the fifth round due to injury concerns. That would be quite the drop-off, as he's considered a second-round talent at the least.
"The long-term effects of prior injuries (with Dickerson) are as much of a concern as the short-term possibility of suffering a major injury again," Pauline wrote. "Most recent of these would be a torn ACL sustained in the SEC Championship Game over the winter. Earlier this spring, the big man was actually caught on video performing a series of cartwheels (!) during a Mac Jones interview, so at least outwardly, it would appear that his recovery is coming along well. Still, should Dickerson end up sliding to late on Day 2 or early on Day 3, injury concerns may well be the cause. Dickerson is a borderline first-round caliber prospect when healthy."
However, Baldinger isn't overly concerned about Dickerson's medical history.
“I understand some teams might just take him off the board and just eliminate the temptation, but I wouldn’t be one of those teams.” he said. “I’d investigate. I’d put him through a series of battery of tests and all that. I’d do everything I could to get him on my football team.”
Baldinger thinks Dickerson flat-out is the best offensive lineman in the draft and that he would be a perfect fit with the Steelers.
“There’s no better lineman in this draft than Landon Dickerson,” Baldinger said. “I mean he’s a massive guy. The Steelers, nobody has produced centers like the Steelers have. If you want to produce the next great Steelers center, look at Landon Dickerson.”
Dickerson is a big center at 6-foot-6, 325 pounds, and has a blue-collar, no-nonsense approach to the game.
“He changed that whole culture at Alabama,” Baldinger said. “Nasty.
I mean, drives your bucket right into the dirt, makes you eat some grass.
Powerful guy, massive and just a great teammate.”