Before his senior season at Nebraska, defensive end Jared Crick was projected as a first-round pick.
In his two previous seasons, Crick had tallied 9 1/2 sacks in each, and he showed the ability to play defensive end or defensive tackle, and he flashed enough versatility to fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.
But a torn pectoral muscle ended his 2011 season early, and his NFL Draft stock plummeted, with some projections having him go as low as the fourth round.
Crick doesn't lament his situation.
"I was very excited that people thought that highly of me before the injury. It doesn't really bother me," Crick said after working out at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. "The way I figure it, I'll have an opportunity in an NFL camp, just like others taken before or after me, and I have to make the most of my opportunities, when they arrive.
"If I play hard and work hard, everything will work out in the end. For me, it's a, 'You never know.' I could go high, or not go at all. But you have to come to reality, and just come back and work.
It would be awesome if I got picked. But I know I'll have an opportunity."
The Bears may address the defensive end position in the first round. But, if they don't, Crick could be an option in the second- or third-round.
Crick isn't known for his explosiveness, rather his relentlessness.
He's worked hard to get himself in optimal shape, benching 225 pounds 26 times at Nebraska's Pro Day. That was something he had to prove not only to the NFL but himself.
"If my pec wasn't healthy, teams wouldn't even give me a second look," Crick said. "Everything has been coming around. I've gotten faster, since the combine."
So how healthy is he? He doesn't plan to be limited, once he joins an NFL team.
"That's the plan. I wouldn't want to be the guy who they're going to have to slow down for," he said. "I'm back where I was before the injury, and I'm getting stronger. I'm ahead of where I should be."
Crick lauded the Cornhuskers' program for stressing the importance of nutrition. But, he said learned a lot more from Gatorade.
"Just how much I thought I knew that I really didn't," Crick said. "Finding out what more I could do to add on to those things I learned at Nebraska, so I could separate from people who aren't doing those things. It's been immensely helpful."
Specifically, he said there's a lot more he can do to fuel his body before a workout.
"I want to see how well that works out for me," he said.