Leighton Vander Esch dismisses concern about neck as “somebody trying to get clicks”

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Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch lost track of the number of visits he took over the last month. He likely has enough frequently flier miles for a free flight, though, after “like 12 or 13 visits.”

“I really thoroughly enjoyed every single one of them,” Vander Esch said Wednesday during pre-draft availability at AT&T Stadium. “It was awesome. It was a great experience. It was just taking it day by day, just enjoying the moment.”

Teams obviously have interest in him, but they also likely wanted to further check out his neck. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock revealed last week that some teams have medical concerns with Vander Esch.

“A lot of people really like Vander Esch as a potential top-20 player,” Mayock said on a conference call, via quotes distributed by NFL Media. “One of his issues is going to be medical. He wears that neck brace for a reason. He’s got a cervical issue, and teams around the league right now are having the conversation about how bad or good is it really and at what level should we draft him? But I don’t think Vander Esch has any issues regarding level of competition and how good a player he is.”

Vander Esch dismissed the concern Wednesday as “somebody trying to get clicks.”

The Cowboys, who have the 19th overall choice, have interest in Vander Esch after losing Anthony Hitchens in free agency. Vander Esch, who made 141 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks last season, made one of his visits to Dallas.

“I’m dynamic and athletic,” Vander Esch said. “I’m rangy. I can run around the field and make plays. I think I fit in very well with their defense. I think it would be awesome.”

But Vander Esch has no idea where he’s going. No one else knows either.

“It’s a tossup right now,” he said. “I have no clue to be honest with you. Anybody could snag me at this point. That’s the neat part of it. You could pretty much end up anywhere in the U.S. It’s pretty cool.”