I watch a lot of Clemson football. (That’s what happens when you marry a Clemson girl and talk to a Clemson fan father-in-law.) So I’ve seen a ton of DaQuan Bowers over the past three years. It didn’t surprise me when Bowers was slated as a potential No. 1 overall pick as the college season wound down. Bowers is a complete player. Not only did he lead the country in sacks (15.5) and place second in tackles for loss (24); he also won ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors and the Nagurski Award.
Bowers is the prototypical 4-3 defensive end. He can get to the passer, but he’s also big enough to dominate against the run. In 2009 , I saw Bowers live against Wake Forest, and although he didn’t have a sack in that game he completely controlled the line of scrimmaged by blowing up running play after running play. The fact that Bowers is more than just a pass rusher makes him an extremely valuable player.
Bowers has been slipping on draft boards because of health questions, which makes his individual workout Friday (April Fools Day) very important. He needs to show he’s healthy enough to play right away if he wants to stay in the draft’s top five.
But NFL teams will be April Fools if they pass on Bowers without major medical concerns. He’s still the best defensive end on the board (sorry Robert Quinn), and he’s going to be a game-changing player at the NFL level. If he slips a 4-3 team like Cleveland at 6 or Tennessee at 8, he could be the steal of the draft. He smells like the defensive rookie of the year to me. And that’s why we should remember the draft’s forgotten man.