Laquon Treadwell should be the first receiver off the board in this year’s NFL draft.

Modern medicine makes it possible to recover from gruesome injuries a large percentage of the time — and do it quickly. That shouldn’t diminish how impressive Treadwell’s recovery was.

On Nov. 1, 2014, as he tried to score the game-winning touchdown against Auburn to potentially keep Ole Miss unbeaten, Treadwell absorbed a sandwich type tackle. He fumbled the football, but also broke his tibia and dislocated his ankle. It was one of the most dramatic and gruesome injuries in SEC history.

“It was devastating,” Treadwell said recently on ESPN’s “First Draft” podcast. “I’ve never even had an injury of any caliber. It was a total grind all the way up until the season and even through the season I was still battling my injury and trying to get as comfortable as I can.

“It was an eye-opener for me. It showed me the support that I had from my family and the university. And it showed me who was really in my circle and who was there for Laquon Treadwell the person and not the football player. I got even closer with my family. That was the first big incident that’s happened in my family. It made us even tighter and a closer family.”

Flash forward to 2015. Treadwell worked his way back through aggressive rehab, but still had not absorbed a single tackle until Sept. 5, the season opener.

He went on to catch 82 passes for an SEC-best 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Now he’s preparing for the NFL Combine. According to ESPN analyst Todd McShay, he could become a top 10 or top 15 pick if he runs an impressive 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. Treadwell reportedly ran in the 4.5-second range in high school.

“Laquon Treadwell to me is the premier receiver in this class,” McShay said on the podcast.

“I think he has a lot of Dez Bryant in his game and I think he has a chance to be a really good impact starter at the next level. After that, quite honestly I’ve got six or seven second-round grades right now (at receiver).”

Treadwell, a guest on the ESPN podcast, also talked about a few of the other Rebels NFL draft prospects, as well as his own abilities:

  • “Cody Core, he’s got speed for days. He was battling cramps and things throughout the season. He was always trying to get healthy and work through that. He’s a hard worker. Precise route-runner. He puts his hours in. He’s a coachable player. He’s one of those types of guys that always shows up week in and week out. He’s a great teammate.”
  • “Laremy (Tunsil) is a freak. He’s always racing the fastest O-linemen on the team. I think he was the fastest. He comes to work every day. He’s different. He’s special. From the day he came in he was special.”
  • “I’m a bigger-body receiver. Going up and snatching the ball out of the air, making tough catches, getting extra yards — I feel like that is my game. I don’t really compare myself to anyone. I feel like I’m my own self, so I try not to make any comparisons. I’m just trying to keep getting better every day and hopefully sooner or later I’ll be one of the guys somebody compares to coming out of college.”