DaQuan Bowers

10 Bold Predictions for the NFL Draft

10. Al Davis will shake things up
Normally this wouldn’t be a bold prediction, but without a 1st-round pick Davis will have to get creative.  Perhaps he’ll trade into the 1st round in an effort to land Jason Campbell’s eventual replacement. Ryan Mallet certainly fits the mold of an Al Davis quarterback…

9. Two or fewer trades occur in 1st round
After this weekend, no one knows when the next time will be that teams will have opportunity to fill holes. This could be their only chance to address some needs before the free agency period – which may not be as active as we’re used to. Draft picks are more valuable than ever this year and most teams will be reluctant to part with them.

8. Patrick Peterson comes off the board within the first six picks
Most mock drafts have Peterson falling to the 49ers, but he won’t last that long (sorry Niners fans). Denver supposedly likes him. Buffalo is unpredictable, so who knows what they’ll do. Arizona could settle for him. Dallas could trade up. And if all else fails, the Browns will snatch him up at No. 6.

7.  Mark Herzlich has a looooong wait in Radio City Music Hall
Herzlich is one of the 25 players attending the draft, and while the cancer survivor will get a great ovation when he is finally selected, he’s going to be waiting awhile. He clearly lost a step after returning to the field this past year, and he is unlikely to come off the board with in the first three rounds. 

6. Three receivers go in the 1st round
A.J. Green and Julio Jones will go in the top 10, but someone else will join them later in the 1st round.  The Rams could trade back and select some such as Titus Young or Jon Baldwin. The Falcons and Jets are two others possibly interested in a receiver in the late 1st.

5. Mark Ingram falls to the late 1st… and possibly further
Running backs have such a short lifespan in the NFL and are so readily available in the middle rounds of the draft that teams are becoming increasingly less interested in spending high picks on them. Ingram is the consensus top available player at the position, but there are very few teams desperate to fill a hole at that position. If the Dolphins don’t take him at No. 15, he’ll fall into the 20s and possibly into the 2nd round.

4. The Jaguars shock us with their 1st round pick
It will be tough to top the Tyson Alualu selection, but GM Gene Smith will surprise us once again.  Maybe they decide to go for a quarterback? Mallett? Locker? Ponder? Or maybe they reach for a receiver? Titus Young? Torrey Smith?

3. Rumors of Da’Quan Bowers’ fall prove to be greatly overstated
Those screaming the loudest that Bowers knee is probably are probably the ones hoping he falls to them. I wouldn’t be shocked if he lands in Cleveland at No. 6 and I have a hard time seeing him fall further than No. 12 to the Vikings. Sorry Bucs fans, he’s not going be there at No. 20.

2. Jake Locker falls further than expected
Rumors have swirled that the Redskins may want him at No. 10. If I had to bet I’d say they do like him, but would prefer to wait until the 41st selection. Nothing he did on the field this year resembled a 1st-round pick, let alone a top-10 pick. Most teams love his talent – and it only takes one to make him a 1st-round pick – but he still has a 2nd or 3rd round grade on most draft boards. 

1. Only three quarterbacks will go in the 1st round
Despite rumors that as many as five signal callers could go in the top 32 picks, only three will actually come off the board – Newton, Gabbert and third (possibly to the Dolphins). Everyone else will wisely wait until the 2nd and 3rd round where less money will be on the line.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

Final Thoughts: Da’Quan Bowers

In the last few weeks leading up to the draft I’ll be posting a series of “final thoughts” on some of the top prospects in this year’s class. Up next: Da’Quan Bowers (full archive here)

Since I’m not a doctor, I’m not going to comment on Bowers’ knee. All I can do is watch film from his three years at Clemson and evaluate him from a talent standpoint. If he fails in the NFL due to injury concerns, then so be it, but unfortunately I do not have the luxury of evaluating his health. So with that out of the way, let’s get down to business. Read more

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Uncategorized Comments Off

Da’Quan Bowers failed two physicals

According to SI’s Peter King, Da’Quan Bowers has failed “at least two team physicals” this offseason.

Bowers will finally work out on Friday

This report may be concerning, but it needs to be taken with a giant grain of salt. In his report, King fails to mention when these physicals occurred.

We know Bowers will hold his pro day on Friday and will then visit eight teams but to the best of my knowledge he hasn’t met with any teams privately since the combine.

If this is the case and his failed physicals came in February, then I couldn’t care less. He was fresh off knee surgery, so passing a physical at that point in time would have come as a surprise.

As long as Bowers looks close to 100% on Friday, which I fully expect him to, there shouldn’t be any major concerns regarding his health.

That said, I believe one of the top defensive linemen is likely to fall out of the top 10. Bowers is definitely a candidate to be that guy, and I currently have him landing in Minnesota in my latest mock draft.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

A.J. Green to the Browns? Not so fast…

Browns fans want A.J. Green. And after two years of Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie, I don’t blame them.

There’s no denying the fact that the Browns need a wide receiver, and as a result many mock drafts currently have them selecting Green with the 6th overall selection.

I can’t say that Green isn’t a possibility for the Browns, but it’s less likely than you may think.

For starters, I think there is a very strong possibility that Green is off the board by No. 6. The Panthers, Bills and Bengals could all realistically take Green before the Browns even get a shot at him. [I currently have him going to Cincinnati.]

The real reason, however, that I don’t see Green winding up in Cleveland is that the Browns simply have far greater needs elsewhere. Everyone wants their team to get a shiny new toy to play with on offense, and Green certainly fits that description, but receivers don’t turn franchises around. Just ask Calvin Johnson and Lions or Andre Johnson and the Texans. Arguably the game’s two best receivers have a combined zero playoff appearances.

In order to rebuild the Browns, president Mike Holmgren and GM Tom Heckert (it’s actually Heckert who controls most of the draft day decisions, although Holmgren has the power to overrule) first must fix the defense.

The hiring of Dick Jauron as defensive coordinator means the Browns are transitioning back to a 4-3 scheme. That alone means they need to focus on defense in the draft, but on top of that they recently cut ties with two of their most productive linemen, Shaun Rogers and Kenyon Coleman. Additionally, Robaire Smith, Matt Roth and Brian Schaefering are set to become free agents.

If the season started today, the Browns would probably be forced to start Derreck Robinson and Marcus Benard at defensive end with Ahtyba Rubin and Travis Ivey at tackle. Yikes.

If this were a normal year, the Browns could attempt to address the defensive line in March and early April by bringing in some veteran free agents. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear as though that will be an option. As a result, the Browns may be forced to fill that void in the draft.

Fortunately for the Browns, this is the year you want to need a defensive lineman. Between Da’Quan Bowers, Nick Fairley, Marcell Dareus, Robert Quinn, Cameron Jordan or J.J. Watt, someone is sure to impress Cleveland’s staff and I strongly suspect someone from that group will wind up wearing the orange and brown in 2011.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Browns 4 Comments

Surgery won’t impact Bowers stock

It was reported yesterday that Da’Quan Bowers underwent knee surgery this offseason, which may force him to skip the workouts at the Scouting Combine.

While this certainly isn’t good news, it should have no impact on his draft stock.

Bowers is already training in preparation of the combine, and he has yet to rule out participating in the drills. I’ll go out on a limb, however, and say I would be very surprised to see Bowers do any physical activity in Indianapolis.

For starters, most potential No. 1 overall selections chose to skip the combine and instead workout only at their pro day where they are more in control of the drills. Teams certainly would prefer to see everyone work out in a neutral environment in Indy, but they can’t force anyone to participate.

On top of that, the injury only increases the chances for Bowers to disappoint at the combine and potentially hurt his stock. So why risk it, even if he thinks he’s close to 100%?

More than likely we won’t see Bowers on the field until Clemson’s pro day, and as long as he is able to get out on the field and appears to be recovering from surgery, it shouldn’t prevent him from being a top five pick.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

Da’Quan Bowers Scouting Report

Da’Quan Bowers DE Clemson

Ht: 6’4

Wt: 280

Elite athleticism for his size. Has the strength to play 3-4 or 4-3 end. Explosive off the snap. Has developed a nice array of pass-rush moves. Size/athleticism combination is simply too much for most tackles to handle in a one-on-one matchup. Decent lower-body strength; shows the ability to hold up at the point of attack against the run.
Speed is only marginal compared to most NFL pass rushers – may struggle to produce the same sack totals at the next level. Slow to develop; came to Clemson as the top-rated defensive prospect in the nation but made only minor contributions in his first two seasons. Is he a one-year wonder motivated by a big NFL contract? Or is he committed to continuing to improve?
Bowers has the size, strength and athleticism to be a truly elite defensive end at the next level. However, you should always cautious about falling in love with a player who suddenly blossomed in his final collegiate season – that raises a red flag that money may be his only motivator. There are no indications that this is the case with Bowers, but teams should do their homework before investing in him. He plays with the mindset of a pass rusher, which may need to be adjusted at the next level. He doesn’t have the quickness and speed of the elite pass rushers in the NFL, but he has the potential to be a well-rounded lineman.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2011 Comments Off

Senior Bowl notes, thoughts, rumors

I like Kaepernick's potential, but don't get carried away with projecting his place in the draft

- Colin Kaepernick is getting a lot of love this week, which prompted ProFootballTalk to hype him up as a potential 1st or 2nd round pick, comparing his potential rise to that of Jay Cutler in 2006. First of all, Cutler had clear NFL-talent and was viewed as a potential 1st-round pick long before the Senior Bowl. Kaepernick was never in that category, and never will be. He has big arm and is good athlete, but so was Spergon Wynn. Kaepernick’s mechanics are shaky and his accuracy is mediocre. He’s a developmental prospect and shouldn’t come off the board before the 4th round at the absolute earliest.

- Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net has tossed out the rumor that Owen Marecic may not be interested in the NFL. He’s an intelligent kid with a Stanford education and certainly has other career options, but who in their right mind would turn down a chance at a NFL salary? Very bizarre story. Hopefully he sticks with it and at least gives football a chance.

- Another great note from Pauline:  ”When discussing the player’s history and off the field concerns, a source close to [Da'Quan] Bowers said, ‘He admits he was a jackass his first two years at Clemson.’ Then the source reiterated something TFY reported earlier discussing how the death of his father really matured the young underclassmen greatly.” Interesting stuff. Bowers was an underachiever through his first two years before emerging as a dominant force as a senior. The only real concern I have with Bowers is the potential that he was a one-year wonder motivated by a NFL contract – if Pauline’s source is correct, NFL teams may be less concerned after getting to know Bowers a little better during the interview process.

- Leonard Hankerson is another player getting praised for his performance this week. My only response to that is: you have to watch him on film to get to know the real Hankerson. There’s no denying his talent, but when it comes time to perform in game situations he’s a choke artist. He drops too many passes and looks lost at times on the field. It’s hard to watch him in games and not question his focus and effort. Take everything he does in offseason workouts with a big grain of salt.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 3 Comments

Broncos draft plans hinge on Champ Bailey’s decision?

Conventional wisdom says the Broncos will address their defense with the 2nd-overall selection in April’s draft. This likely means deciding between Nick Fairley, Da’Quan Bowers and Patrick Peterson.

At the moment, defensive line looks like their most pressing need. However, that could all change if Champ Bailey decides to leave once free agency opens (if it ever does).

Is Champ Bailey done in Denver?

If we ever get to the point where teams are allowed to negotiate with free agents, Bailey would certainly have good reasons to leave Denver. He’ll be 33 in June and has won just one playoff game in his seven years with the Broncos. If he wants to chase a championship, Denver probably isn’t the place to do that.

Bailey’s departure would leave the Broncos with journeyman Andre Goodman and troubled rookie Parrish Cox as their starting cornerbacks. Cox, however, may not even be available for all or part of the 2011 season and beyond, depending on the outcome of his arrest for sexual assault.

Given these potential departures from the Broncos secondary, Patrick Peterson may start to look like the most attractive option in the draft. He compares favorably to Bailey, and is one of the most talented corners to enter the draft in a number of years.

The Broncos may also be swayed toward Peterson due to the depth in this year’s defensive line class. The difference in talent between Peterson and potential early 2nd-round options (Brandon Harris, Aaron Williams) is far greater than the difference between Fairley/Bowers and a player such as Cameron Heyward, who may still be available with the 36th pick.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Broncos Comments Off

Money could determine who Panthers take No. 1

Typically by the time the college season wraps up we have a pretty good idea of who the No. 1 pick will be. If not, it’s usually at least narrowed down to two names. This year I believe there are four legitimate options for the Panthers, and I don’t expect them to make a decision until just days before the draft.

I expect the consensus to be that the Panthers should take Da’Quan Bowers. The current poll on our site has Bowers favored with 43 percent of the vote [as of 11am on Jan. 12].

Bowers makes a lot of sense. Charles Johnson stepped up as an effective pass rusher in the absence of Julius Peppers, but Johnson is one dimensional. Bowers is a much more complete lineman, who can be effective on all three downs.

Even if the Panthers want Bowers, however, that doesn’t mean he’ll be the pick.

The Panthers have turned into a cheap organization. They limited their coaching search this offseason to first-timers for that very reason. They’re loyal to their players – perhaps to a fault – but they rarely reach into their pockets to sign big-name free agents.

As a result, the Panthers may be inclined to essentially create a bidding war for the No. 1 pick.

Here’s how it could work. The Panthers may indicate that they’re favoring Bowers, but reach out to Nick Fairley, A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson as well. There’s no guarantee that any of them will come off the board within the top five, so they may be willing to bring down their asking price in order to guarantee themselves a significant contract.

Look at it from Peterson’s perspective: a cornerback has never been chosen higher than 3rd overall – he may be driven to take less money simply to hold that distinction. On top of that, he could easily fall into the second half of the top-10 if he doesn’t go No. 1 overall. He is an elite prospect, but cornerbacks are rarely high on the wish list of teams selecting in the top five. As a result, he may be willing to take money closer to that of the No. 2 or No. 3 pick, simply to guarantee himself a big pay day.

The same can be said for A.J. Green. If the Panthers pass on him he won’t be selected until No. 3 at the earliest (the Broncos don’t need another receiver at No. 2) and could fall to No. 6 to the Browns. By accepting less money than a typical No. 1 pick, he could still guarantee himself more money than if he had fallen to Cleveland.

What makes all of this even more likely is the labor situation. If the NFL is in the midst of a lockout (yes, the draft will still occur in the even of a lockout) the Panthers may be even more motivated to favor a smaller contract over the guy who is truly No. 1 on their draft board. Likewise, the players may be more eager to guarantee themselves as much money as possible knowing that they may not be collecting a paycheck until 2012.

This strategy will take some time to develop, and likely won’t begin to take shape until about 10 days before the draft. It could create for a very interesting week leading up to the draft and could make some Panthers fans very unhappy. Settling for a player simply because he will sign for less won’t be a popular decision, but it may be the right one considering the current state of the NFL.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Panthers 1 Comment

A quick “what if Luck stays in school” mock draft

It seems like every day a new reporter finds “sources” to tell him that Andrew Luck is leaning toward staying in school. I’m inclined to call “BS” on anyone who says Luck is leaning towards staying at Stanford, especially since it sounds as though Jim Harbaugh is as good as gone. But I’ll humor those who think he’s staying for a moment and throw together a quick mock draft based on the scenario that he stays. Here’s the top 10 of the “what if Luck stays” mock draft…

1. Panthers – Da’Quan Bowers – DE – Clemson
The Panthers don’t need a quarterback, so they won’t take one unless Luck is there. Their pass rush was abysmal this season, and they missed Julius Peppers even more than anyone could have anticipated. Bowers is coming off a monster year and should be an instant-impact pass rusher at the next level.

2. Broncos – Patrick Peterson – CB – LSU
With Josh McDaniels gone, the Broncos may be ready to give up on Tim Tebow after just three games. However, I don’t think they’ll reach for someone like Newton or Mallett with the second pick. The safe bet is to take Peterson, the best available player. Champ Bailiey may not return, and even if he does he’s on the downswing of his career.

3. Bengals – A.J. Green – WR – Georgia
One of the biggest decisions any team has to make this offseason is the Bengals’ looming decision about Carson Palmer. They could cut him loose and draft a new franchise quarterback here. I don’t think they’re willing to give up yet, however. A.J. Green is an elite talent and could be the young receiver Palmer needs to get the offense back on track.

4. Bills – Ryan Mallett – QB – Arkansas
The Bills need a quarterback to build around and should be able to get one in this year’s draft. But who will it be? Mallett, Locker and Newton are all worth considering. It’s pure speculation at this point, but I think Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix will lean toward the strong-armed Mallett.

5. Cardinals – Prince Amukamara – CB – Nebraska
The Cardinals are another team in need of a quarterback, but I expect Ken Whisenhunt to push for them to bring in a veteran.  As a result, they’ll turn their attention to the defense in the draft, landing either Amukamara, Cameron Jordan or Nick Fairley here.

6. 49ers – Cam Newton – QB – Auburn
Until a GM and a coach are in place it’s tough to predict how the 49ers will handle the draft. But one thing is certain: they need a quarterback. If they need to make a decision between Newton and Locker, expect Newton to be their guy.

7. Cowboys – Cameron Jordan – DE – California
Jordan isn’t nearly the most well-known of the top 3-4 defensive ends, but I believe he is the best of the bunch. The Cowboys will be looking to improve the defense, making Jordan a strong possibility here.

8. Texans – Nick Fairley – DT – Auburn
The Texans need to address their secondary, but with Peterson and Amukamara off the board they must turn their attention to the defensive line. Fairley is an elite pass-rushing interior lineman who reminds me of Ndamukong Suh.

9. Lions – Robert Quinn – DE – North Carolina
The Lions offense is progressing, but the defense still has some holes. Kyle Vanden Bosch hasn’t worked out and the Lions will likely look to upgrade their pass rush this offseason. Quinn may be the best pass-rushing end available in this draft class.

10. Browns – Julio Jones – WR – Alabama
The Browns are now committed to Colt McCoy, but now they need to supply him with some weapons. Jones, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Jon Baldwin and Torrey Smith could all be options depending on who leaves early for the draft.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, 49ers, Bengals, Bills, Broncos, Browns, Cardinals, Cowboys, Lions, Panthers, Texans 1 Comment