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2022 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills LB Baylon Spector

Several notable injuries but minimal time missed

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 CFP Semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills rounded out their 2022 NFL Draft class with the selection of Clemson LB Baylon Spector in the seventh round with pick number 231 overall.

One of the “Bruise Brothers,” Spector comes to Buffalo after helping Clemson make back-to-back national championship appearances early in his career, securing a win in 2018. Spector appeared quite productive during his time at Clemson, racking up nearly 200 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, and nine sacks. He appeared in 53 games over his career but several injuries did cost him some time.

Baylon Spector Injury History

2020 - Right shoulder injury: Spector wore a shoulder harness during most of the 2020 and 2021 seasons, having offseason shoulder surgery after the 2020 season.

2021 - Knee inflammation: Missed Georgia Tech game due to knee inflammation, side not specified.

2021 - Right-hand fracture: Missed the Cheez-It Bowl against Iowa State due to a fracture that required surgery, played in the East-West Shrine Bowl with a cast on his hand.

Bills Injury Impact

Spector has had his share of injuries at a very contact-heavy position but has missed only two games over his four-year career. Addressing the injuries in terms of severity, the knee inflammation isn’t a concern as he only missed one game and reports did not indicate it was an issue later. He possibly injured it against South Carolina State and tried to work through it up until pregame warmups before deciding to sit out.

It’s not clear which side was injured as when he returned, there wasn’t any bracing on either knee.

Regarding his hand injury, it’s possible he broke a metacarpal in his hand that required surgery to stabilize the area. Other than missing some initial time due to the injury, there aren’t any long-term concerns and he showed he is still effective even with a cast.

The one injury of concern is the right shoulder. While he didn’t miss any time due to the injury, he did require surgery in the offseason. Looking at game film, he first appeared with the shoulder harness during the Georgia Tech game in 2020, suggesting he sustained the injury against Miami the previous week.

He continued to play with the harness through the season and required surgery, though it wasn’t clear why. He missed spring practices and was limited in the early portions of fall camp in a non-contact jersey. Based on his use of the brace, the possibilities include pectoral, labrum, or rotator cuff tear.

Had he suffered the pectoral injury, he would have had difficulty wrapping up tackles and would have likely required surgery sooner if the tear was that significant. It’s possible not to miss anytime with a labral or rotator cuff tear, but he likely continued to wear the brace as a protective measure even after surgery to protect the area from further injury. My guess is that it was a labral repair considering he missed all of spring and was limited during a portion of the fall.

There is an obvious concern for re-injury, but it will be worth watching if he continues to wear it during OTA’s as he did wear it during the Shrine Bowl game. (AP)

Other than the shoulder injury, there is minimal concern for Spector as he heads into his rookie year. Missing two games over four years isn’t a cause for concern at all, especially for relatively minor injuries.

Outside of starters Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds, Spector does have a shot in a reserve role with a heavy focus on special teams. He has a lot of competition, but every year there are risers and fallers in camp who shape the roster in unexpected ways.