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Saturday, February 21, 2009
Crabtree's injury could be good news for NFC North

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

INDIANAPOLIS -- In a perverse way, Saturday's news that Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree has a stress fracture in his left foot could benefit two NFC North teams.

Before the injury, Scouts Inc. ranked Crabtree as its top overall prospect. Most mock drafts have suggested that he would be no worse than a top-five pick in the April draft. The injury could sink his ranking by some degree -- possibly to the mid-round area where Chicago (No. 18) and Detroit (No. 20) are scheduled to pick.

NFL teams are still processing the medical information and implications of the injury. Last spring, Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart needed surgery on his right big toe but was still drafted by Carolina at No. 13 overall.

The Lions have met with Crabtree but were unlikely to take a receiver with the No. 1 overall pick. But one of the draft's top game-breakers with the No. 20 pick? That might be something to consider.

That is, of course, if the Bears haven't snapped him up first. Chicago's receiver deficiency has been well-documented, and the Bears have other needs as well. (Right tackle among them.) But Saturday's news means the Bears have a more legitimate chance to draft Crabtree than they thought they would when they arrived in Indianapolis.