Da’Quan Bowers: 2011 NFL Draft Prospects
Defensive End Da’Quan Bowers (H: 6’4″ – W: 280 – College: Clemson)
Bowers was ranked the No. 1 prospect in the nation by ESPN in 2008 and every other reputable source had him at the top or close to it. In his final two years of high school, Bowers had accumulated nearly 200 total tackles, 63 tackles for loss and 29 sacks. And just look at his measurables at that young age: 6’4″, 267 pounds, 4.57 40 yard dash, 330 max bench, 3.27 GPA. We’re talking about a “can’t-miss” prospect here.
When Bowers committed to the Clemson Tigers, he was looked at as a player that would come in immediately and play as a true freshman. He did start as a freshman, but he didn’t play as well as many had hoped. In that 2008 season, Bowers played in all 13 games but only managed one sack. As a pure pass-rushing specialist, he should’ve done better. In his sophomore year, only three sacks. Bowers did sustain a knee injury in that 2009 season which held him back and kept him out of three games. But heading into the 2010 season with those two seasons behind him, what happened to that “can’t-miss” prospect hype? It seemed true, it felt real.
Watching the tape of Bowers’ first two seasons at Clemson and you’ll see a player who may have not been mentally-ready for the college game. The talent was there, but the follow-through and execution was not.
Thankfully for Clemson and Bowers himself, it came together and the light came on in his junior season this past fall. Bowers exploded for 63 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks and 17 QB pressures. He single-handedly had more sacks than 23 FBS teams in 2010.
So which Da’Quan Bowers will project to the NFL? The 2010 sack artist or the 2008-09 bust?
Bowers needs a team to stay on him and provide discipline or “light a fire” under him. Motivation has to be a factor and in a sense, he’s starting all over again. Of course, 18 and 19-year olds go through a lot when they transition to college but he is now 20 years old and making an even bigger transition. It is a valid concern and something Bowers will be asked about by NFL personnel.
If he can remain consistent and commit to the game, Bowers will have a long and successful career in the NFL.
Strengths: Prototypical pass-rushing 4-3 LDE. Good explosion off the line, disruptive hands and a good tackler. Displays a good array of pass rush moves with good agility and lateral footwork. Very good closing speed and is not a liability against the run. NFL-ready size. Good tackler, hits hard, gets after the ball-carrier with a driving motor. Great bend around the corner and does well to collapse blockers into the pocket. His athleticism will never be called into question. Sheds blocks well, stays on assignment.
Weaknesses: Poor knee bend when bull-rushing. Sometimes lacks the lower-body strength to drive back taller offensive linemen. Will need to be coached up on proper use of leverage. Consistency and energy falls off too suddenly late in games. Can be made frustrated early in games and his motor will quit. Needs to improve his mean streak and show more tenacity in getting after the quarterback.
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