Here's a question that NFL general managers and front office staffers will have to ask themselves going into next week's draft:
How do I feel about selecting a player who missed a good amount of playing time in college last season?
Whether it be because of injuries or disciplinary reasons, there are a number of draft prospects who did not get a lot of (if any) on-field action last year.
The Ravens have been linked to a handful of these players, which means that GM Ozzie Newsome, director of player personnel Eric DeCosta and director of college scouting Joe Hortiz will have to ask themselves the very question that I posed above.
Tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Rob Gronkowski are both considered low first-round to high second-round picks and have been discussed as options for the Ravens with the 25th overall selection. But neither guy played a down in 2009 because of injuries (Gresham had torn cartilage in his right knee while Gronkowski needed back surgery to repair herniated disc and nerve damage).
With those type of guys, Hortiz says the keys are getting all the medical information that you need and then reverting back to the most recent game tape to evaluate the player's on-field ability.
"We do a good job - our training staff, medical doctors - getting the rundown, grading them, putting a medical grade on them, finding out where we think they'll be [and] where they are currently," Hortiz says. "You'll have some guys be able to go through a limited workout, and you try to get your eyes on that to see what they look like there and understanding that they're going through it at a maybe less than 100-percent ability level.
"But I think the main thing you do is you look at what they've done when they were healthy as a junior or maybe their first six games before they were injured this year. And [you have to] just trust your doctors and trust the opinions you see on the guy as a player."
Two other players that might intrigue the Ravens are wide receivers Dez Bryant and Mike Williams, both of whom missed significant playing time last season because of disciplinary issues.
After playing the first three games of the 2009 season, Bryant was ruled ineligible for the remainder of the year for lying to the NCAA about visiting Deion Sanders' home and working out with him.
Williams only played seven games in 2009 before quitting the team, and he was suspended for the entire 2008 season for violating the university's academic integrity policy.
Asked specifically about Bryant's situation, DeCosta said the Ravens do the best they can to evaluate the off-field issues while also using whatever game tape they have to scout Bryant's football abilities.
"This year, first three games, fortunately we had a chance to see him work out, we had the chance to talk to him," he said. "We've talked to people at the school. You do all your research and you just kind of build a profile and see where he stacks against everybody else.
"It is a little bit more challenging, but fortunately we have a lot of tape to look at."