At the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, where prospects are put through myriad medical tests, every organization watched Lattimore’s results.
He understood the process, noting that teams invest a lot of money in their players and want to know that he is progressing well.
“It’s a blessing to be here,” Lattimore said. “I would not take this opportunity for granted, that I have to be at the combine. I just think about guys who are less fortunate than me, guys who would kill to be in my shoes, even with the injury.
“That’s what keeps me going. That’s what keeps me motivated.”
Though he did not take part in any of the typical drills at the combine, Lattimore insisted on showing how far he’s come at South Carolina’s pro day last month. Just five months after suffering his injury, he showed off his burgeoning footwork and agility, tap-tapping his way through a speed ladder, and explosion when he jumped from the floor onto a plyometric box.
He heard applause from some of those in attendance, including family members.
Though Lattimore wants to play in the 2013 season, sitting out the year might be beneficial.
In order for that to happen, it might be that Lattimore could be drafted by a team with a high number of picks, such as the 49ers or Ravens.
Assuming he returns to a level close to what he was pre-injury, Jeremiah, a former scout for the Ravens, Browns, and Eagles, can see Lattimore getting back to his punishing ways.
“[His] strengths, you’re just talking about power is a big thing, he runs with a lot of power, he runs angry, he finishes runs, he’s got really good vision,” Jeremiah said. “The weakness, you’d probably say that that elite, elite speed [isn’t there] coming off the previous injury, and he’s not overly elusive; he’s not a big ‘make-miss guy’, just a hard running player with very good instincts and vision and balance.”
At his best, Lattimore is reminiscent of the Texans’ Arian Foster, Jeremiah said, “in terms of he runs through tackles, he’s very decisive.”
He finishes with an asterisk, so to speak: “But again it’s all subject to how he comes out of this medically.”
Mentors McGahee and Gore have enjoyed successful careers, and Lattimore sees the same future for himself.
“At this point, it really doesn’t matter where I get drafted, because I’m going to go in there and work hard, I’m going to do what I do, I’m going to do what I’ve been doing my whole career, and that’s just being myself,” he said.
“If I get a chance to play this year, I’m going to make the most of it.
“And I feel like I will.”