On the afternoon of Sat., April 20, the logic of the first round of the NFL draft may have taken a severe beating. Less than a week before that first round actually takes place at Radio City Music Hall, Florida State defensive end Cornellius "Tank" Carradine completed his recovery from a severe knee injury suffered last Nov. 24 against Florida. Carradine, seen by some analysts (including this one) as the best pass-rusher in this draft class when fully healthy, ran a 40-yard dash that was timed between 4,75 and 4.85 at his pro day, which took place in Cincinnati. 11 NFL teams attended the event, per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, and Reedy reported that Carradine was "very happy" with his workout.
135 days post knee surgery, FSU defensive end Tank Carradine runs a 4.75 in the 40 during a workout for teams
— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) April 20, 2013
Carradine had already put up 32 reps at the 225-pound bench press at the Seminoles' pro day on March 19, so he skipped that part of the exercise this time around.
Just 135 days after he tore his right ACL on a non-contact injury, and after a great deal of rehab work with the same trainer that helped Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson complete his miraculous recovery from knee surgery, Carradine appeared to be all the way back -- or very close to it. He was running in the 4.6 region before his injury, and at 273 pounds, his speed/power combination could easily vault him into the first round -- and leave a few pro personnel guys re-doing their boards over the weekend.
"I am two months and three weeks into rehab," Carradine said at the scouting combine in late February. "I’m more than healthy, I actually have been doing a little bit of running, not that much, but I’m really going to start running this Monday, February 25. My knee feels good, I’m like a month ahead of schedule, actually rehab[ing] five days a week, two times a day from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 4:00-6:00 p.m., so I’m like a month ahead of schedule with all the rehab I’m doing."
Carradine, who amassed 11.0 sacks and 13.0 tackles for loss in just 11 games in 2012, has an enticing skill set for those NFL teams in need of pass-rush help -- which is to say, just about every team in the league.
"I would feel great about it," Carradine recently told the Baltimore Sun about the possibility of a role in the Ravens' defense.. "I would fit right in with those guys because they're impact players. I can be that guy who has ability and can learn from those guys and bring a lot to the table. I like the 3-4 a lot because I'm able to do more, show more. I'm able to stand up. I can see more. I can recognize pass and run better when you stand up. I'm able to be in space, drop in coverage and play inside receivers. I feel real good about the 3-4. I've played in a 4-3, but I can play in a 3-4. I can play either scheme really good."
If the Super Bowl champs want Carradine, they're going to have to think about trading up from their current spot at 32nd overall. Because his stock may have just risen right through the roof.