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2021 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills CB Rachad Wildgoose Jr. injury analysis

Looking for injury concerns is like a Wildgoose chase.

Big Ten Football Championship - Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

If nothing else, the Buffalo Bills won the NFL draft by selecting the prospect with the coolest last name in Wisconsin CB Rachad Wildgoose Jr. In addition to all the excellent play on words that await Bills Mafia following a big play, Wildgoose also comes to Western New York relatively healthy. He does have an uphill battle to the 53-man roster but could make an impact if called upon due to injury or sub-par play from others. Below is Rachad Wildgoose’s publicly known injury history.


Injury History

2018

Freshman year: appeared in ten games, missing contests against Western Kentucky, BYU, and Iowa. There are no reports that he suffered an injury, this may have simply been the team attempting to preserve his eligibility as players can play up to four games without using that season’s eligibility.

2019

Sophomore year: appeared in 13 games, did not suffer any publicly known injuries.

2020

Junior year: appeared in two games before suffering a season-ending right shoulder injury. Imaging later revealed that he suffered a right scapular fracture, which is commonly known as the wing bone.


Bills injury impact

Wildgoose is incredibly healthy outside of the fracture that is rare in itself, accounting for one percent of all fractures and three-to-five percent of upper extremity fractures. Typically, scapular fractures occur as the result of blunt force trauma. (Side note: I asked what would cause a scapular fracture to my orthopedics professor in graduate school, he casually said a baseball bat to the back. I was shocked, but that’s one way to break a bone.) The scapula lies over the posterior chest wall and connects to the clavicle and humerus to create the shoulder girdle. This complex allows the shoulder to complete all the movements available for the variety of tasks needed in life and sports.

Musculature of the scapula and location on body.
CrossFit.com

The reason a scapular fracture is so debilitating is that this is where the rotator cuff muscles originate. They help connect the humerus to the scapula and assist shoulder movement. Any instability within the anchor of the muscles would result in pain and weakness when attempting to perform arm movements. The scapula also performs a variety of motions including rotating up and out as the shoulder moves overhead to create space for the humerus to move.

Besides isolated reports of Chicago Bears WR Kevin White and San Francisco 49ers FB Bruce Miller, there is little information regarding the incidence of scapular fractures in the NFL. There is a case study of one player suffering two scapular fractures in back-to-back years, but even the article highlights how rare it was.

Wildgoose may notice minor range-of-motion loss in flexion, abduction, and external rotation, which could make high-pointing the ball slightly difficult. He could realistically regain that over time and would not be functionally affected by this injury. It is also not totally impossible, but very unlikely that he suffers a similar injury again.

I have no concerns regarding Wildgoose translating his skills to the NFL. His level of play will be the primary limitation as to whether he is successful within the secondary trying to lock down the CB2 spot.