Leighton Vander Esch’s Cowboys career isn’t off to the best start. The franchise selected the former Boise State standout with the No. 19 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Now, he’s out during minicamp.
Vander Esch was reportedly injured during team OTAs last week. He went down with a sprained ankle.
He will participate in meetings and will work with trainers during the three days of practice. From NFL Network’s Jane Slater:
#Cowboys HC Jason Garrett says rookie LB Leighton Vander Esch will not practice today after hurting his ankle in OTAs last week. He's been a part of the meetings and will work with trainers off to the side as he continues to rehab it.
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) June 12, 2018
Injuries were a concern with Leighton Vander Esch during the NFL Draft process.
His ankles weren’t the problem area. However, there have been reports that he has a concussion history, something he denies.
During the draft process, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock raised some concerns. Via The Dallas Morning News:
Said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock: “A lot of people really like Vander Esch as a potential top-20 player. One of his issues is going to be medical. He wears that neck brace for a reason. He’s got a cervical issue, and teams around the league right now are having the conversation about how bad or good is it really and at what level should we draft him? But I don’t think Vander Esch has any issues regarding level of competition and how good a player he is.”
Vander Esch says that he did not have a concussion. He says the issue stemmed from a “bad CT scan.”
“I didn’t really have any injuries as a junior,” he said of his final college season. “I missed some time [as a sophomore in 2016] because they thought I had a concussion because I was having headaches, but they fixed that at a chiropractor.”
Either way, this ankle injury should be fairly minor, and is early enough that it shouldn’t impact the season, though ankle issues can linger. Hopefully he will be good to go for the preseason, and more importantly, Week 1.
Vander Esch’s football story is a special one. He walked on to Boise State, and wound up being a major contributor for all three seasons he played for the Broncos. In 2017, he took over a starting role, and racked up 141 total tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions. Just three years after walking on, he elected to leave school early and became a first rounder.