Less than three months ago Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers was firmly in consideration to be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Fast forward to today and no one is really sure where he’ll end up or how low he’ll fall.
Bowers has been battling a knee injury throughout most of the pre-draft process, the resulting durability concerns and a closer examination of his game tape have reportedly scared teams at the top of the draft off.
Bowers had a chance to address all of that at his pro day today and, well, the results were apparently not convincing.
Bowers ran 40-yard dash times of 4.92 and 4.85, which is hardly blinding speed for a 6’4, 280-pound defensive end. While Bowers had claimed he was fully healthy and ready to go for his pro day, most observers said he looked anything but fully healed.
Bowers’ pro day performance has already lead to questions about his athleticism as well as his fitness. Then, one front-office exec told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he was incredibly unimpressed with Bowers’ game tape as well. According to that exec, of Bowers’ 15 sacks last year, six came when he wasn’t blocked and another three came because of the defensive scheme. The film also showed that his effort is not consistent and his production was spotty at best. Geez, talk about kicking a guy when he’s down.
Meanwhile Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has defended Bowers by claiming he won’t be running 40 yards as a defensive end in the league and that he uses his hands like an All-Pro.
After all that has been said, and while his stock has certainly taken a monumental hit since the season ended, Bowers could still be selected within the first six picks of the draft. In fact, Mel Kiper currently has Bowers at No. 6 on his Big Board, but has him dropping to the Tennessee Titans at No. 8 in the draft. Meanwhile, Scouts Inc.’s Todd McShay has Bowers landing with the Cleveland Browns at No. 6.
We’re pretty convinced Bowers will be at least a decent pro, but the bad workout at his pro day and lingering concerns about his recovery from the torn meniscus in his knee could hurt him, and his wallet on draft day.