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2021 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills WR Marquez Stevenson injury analysis

Two significant injuries early in his career slowed Stevenson down.

Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Speedy WR Marquez Stevenson was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth round to ideally be used on special teams following the departure of Andre Roberts. However, injuries threatened to derail his career even before it started, which likely led to his fall in the draft. If he can overcome some of the initial hurdles, he could become a difference maker for the Bills in 2021 and beyond. Below are Stevenson’s publicly known injuries.

Injury History

2016 — Freshman year: broken collarbone preseason training camp, not requiring surgery Side not specified, but according to Instagram and confirmation from this profile over at Go Long, it appears as though it was the left side.

He appeared in two total games, returning in late October after missing the first seven games before getting shut down again with what was termed “additional injuries,” missing foiur games afterward. Unfortunately, details of the specific injuries are not available.

2017 — Sophomore year: tore his left ACL during spring practices, missing the entire season rehabbing.

2018 — Redshirt sophomore year: appeared in 13 games, no publicly reported injuries.

2019 — Redshirt junior year: appeared in 12 games, no publicly reported injuries.

2020 — Redshirt senior year: appeared in five games, missed two games due to a left ankle sprain. Details not available regarding the specifics, but it’s possible that it was a high ankle sprain based on what is available on video at the 16:58 mark.

As the next few scheduled games were canceled, it’s difficult to determine how long he would have really been out for, giving additional information as to the exact injury. Also to note, he skipped the bowl game in order to prepare for the draft.

Bills injury impact

A scouting director for an NFC team stated that he didn’t believe Stevenson would hold up in the league. This is due to the injuries mounting up and that he isn’t very strong. However, this is one scout’s opinion and it’s easy to say things when said in anonymity.

While Stevenson has had his fair share of injuries, the only one that is of any concern is the ACL injury. However, this was over four years ago at this point and I don’t believe he is at any higher risk to re-tear the same side or contralateral side. Research also supports that the isolated ACL tear also didn’t have any effect on career length when looking at ACL tears specifically.

If he were to break his collarbone, it would be unfortunate but nothing could prevent this. Had he underwent the surgery, the bone would have been reinforced, but surgery is not always the answer when it comes to a fracture or significant injury. As for the ankle, as it appeared to be a shoestring tackle. Sometimes those injuries can’t be avoided.

Stevenson has a long road ahead of him to make the roster as a special teams ace and an even longer road as a wide receiver. With some of his injuries behind him, he had a shot to make the roster. Avoiding future injury or taking advantage of someone else’s injury may be his ticket to finding his way onto the 53-man roster.