Da’Quan Bowers vs North Carolina

Da'Quan Bowers had 2 sacks vs UNC

I managed to get a feed of Clemson vs UNC as a bonus today. I’ll have thoughts on Alabama’s shock defeat at South Carolina  and LSU/Florida when I’ve watched the tape tomorrow. Da’Quan Bowers (DE, Clemson) was once the #1 overall ranked recruit when he committed to the Tigers ahead of the 2008 season. He was slowed by injury and inconsistency to start his career, recording just four sacks in two years. The light appears to have switched on in 2010 . Two more sacks against North Carolina took his tally this season to six in five games. He had a third sack nullified by an offside call, stepping up a split second too early.

It wasn’t just the numbers that stood out. Bowers put constant pressure on UNC quarterback T.J. Yates, flashing a great initial burst to regularly get into the backfield and impact plays. He showed good upper body strength to push back offensive lineman to compliment his speed off the edge. There wasn’t a great repertoire on show and Bowers certainly didn’t flash a great spin move, but he generally didn’t need to against UNC’s offensive line. His size (280lbs, 6-4) doesn’t lend to the LEO position but he has the kind of build that could fit the ‘five technique’ LE position that Red Bryant has been playing. Although Bowers isn’t as big as Bryant, he’s a better pass rusher. With an effective LEO rusher on the other side, Bowers would add another string to Seattle’s defensive line bow. He plays some snaps inside and looks comfortable, so I have to believe he’d be well suited to such a role.

I had Bowers in the 20-32 pick range previously, but I’ll certainly consider upping that in the next mock draft. He can easily be a top-15 pick.

*NOTE: Reports like this on individual prospects or weekend reviews are now listed amongst the ‘Scouting Reports’ page located in the title bar or by clicking here.


  1. Matt

    Watching Luck vs. USC right now. Still waiting for him to make a throw that tells me he is an elite NFL QB prospect. So far, all I’m seeing is high percentage passes to wide open WRs.

    Really not trying to crap on the kid, but frankly I’m seeing Trent Edwards. Decent arm strength, accuracy but is always making the “safe” throw that’s not going to be there in the NFL.

    • Rob

      I’m watching LSU vs Florida. Keep me updated on Luck/Stanford if you have time.

  2. Matt

    I’d still much rather pick Christian Ponder in round 2 over wasting a top 5 pick on a game manager. To me, they are identical players, but one’s getting the hype and the other is not.

    • Rob

      There are huge similarities between Luck and Ponder, there’s just a lot more hype on Luck. Neither have the big arm or the ability to be a major difference maker with the pass. Both athletic enough to move around but not enough to really hurt a NFL defense. Both smart guys with good character.

      Ponder’s stock is intriguing. Mel Kiper has him as a round 4-5 prospect. I think he’ll be around in the middle rounds, which will be a major difference compared to Luck – but little difference between the two.

      • Matt

        It’s very easy to see that Luck is a very intelligent QB (in this game & others). My problem is that he hardly ever makes difficult throws and rarely throws into tight coverage (either by play design or choice).

        Now, I’m not dying to have a gunslinger who is reckless with the ball, but at the same time, the NFL game is so fast and the only wide open windows are blown coverage. At some point, we have to see if he is able to consistently make throws in these types of situations.

        It really is scary the similarities between him and Trent Edwards (not just the Stanford connection). I’m really concerned that his conservative play will lead to a lot of checkdowns and safe throws that ultimately don’t threaten a defense, which would put the seahawks in a similar situation right now with an aging, physically untalented Matt Hasselbeck.

        That said, he could be a perfect fit for a team like the Vikings or 49ers who seem to have a lot of pieces around that simply just need to get the ball in their hands. That luxury, however, is not afforded to the hawks who simply are void of big time offensive weapons. All that said, I can see why so many national pundits love the kid. They see box scores and don’t realize that 3/4 of his throws are checkdown, flats, or crossing patterns and if they do see the game, they don’t realize that you cannot live on those types of throws in the NFL, where everyone, is big, fast, strong, and smart. Luck definitely has a bright NFL future, but that will be heavily dependent on the situation he is in. I don’t see him as the focal point, ala Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning in an NFL offense.

        Lastly, it’s somewhat surprising to me that Matt Barkley doesn’t get very much love considering he is younger and runs a much more complicated system that requires him to make difficult throws. Also, I’ve seen Barkley make a few throws today in which he threw the WR open using great touch and placement.

        In today’s college game, people need to realize that the perfect QB prospect doesn’t exist. There are so many variables (ie scheme, conference, surrounding talent) that can heavily contribute to the perception and performance of their play.

        Love the site Rob. Keep up the awesome work.

        • akki

          Food for thought. The king of the game managers has probably been Troy Aikman. He never threw for over 23 TDs or 3500 yards, but made 6 Pro Bowls and won 3 Super Bowls. He never had a great arm, or great running ability. He threw tons of passes underneath to Emmitt Smith, Daryl Johnston, and Jay Novacek. When he was inducted to the HOF, there was intense debate about whether he deserved getting in or not. Some thought that he just was the benefactor of handing off to Smith a lot, and cited his relatively low stats and qb rating. Others thought that if he didn’t have Smith, he could’ve put up huge numbers in a different system. We’ll never know since he played on a Cowboys team whose philosophy was run-first due to Smith’s presence. But we do know that regardless the Cowboys were really happy with the results of taking a “game manager” 1st overall.

          Another game manager 1st overall pick was Kerry Collins, who may have had a big arm, but whose college career was spent handing off, like all of Joe Paterno’s qbs, this time to Ki-Jana Carter. Collins never really had to carry the team by himself, since it was so dominant overall. Scouts said he probably could do it, so he went first overall despite lack of evidence in either direction in college. The NFL returns have been mixed, I guess.

          I agree that Luck and Ponder look closer to game manager than physical specimen (and we might never get a chance to make a determination in college. But I still watch them and think, I wish Hass had that athleticism and speed, or I wish Hass had that strong an arm. They have enough to be NFL starters, although I’m more confident in Luck. The arm strength is what separates Luck from Ponder for me, and it was shown in a couple of throws he made falling backward against USC. If you have a 10 point scale, and you have Mallett at 10 and Locker at 9, you might see Luck at 7 and Ponder at 5. Yeah, I haven’t seen evidence of deep balls, but they show some zip on the short and intermediate throws. How capable are they in the pros with their limitations? For us, we want them to prove it, but we’re not getting the chance, so plugging guys like Luck and Ponder in the top 10 will require some leap of faith in believing the scouts’ hype.

          Personally I think Barkley can be better than all the guys in this class, even though he’s mostly been asked to be a game manager as well so far in his career. I think he doesn’t have the hype because he’s a true sophomore, and so isn’t eligible to go into the 2011 draft. The media isn’t going to build him up until next year.

        • Blake

          Luck and Ponder are very similar but Ponder is just a lesser version of Luck. Two inches shorter, fifteen pounds lighter, a half step slower, and a weaker arm. Similar pro style systems are a plus, but Luck’s throwing windows are the size of my car. Locker has never had a wide open throw on a crossing route like Luck has on every first down.
          Luck actually reminds me a lot of how Hass was about 5 years ago. Underrated scrambler, savvy, tough, and average arm (Luck is above average). Luck’s footwork is superior to everyone in the class which is a major plus for day one readiness.
          Barkley is well known amongst draftniks. Currently, he is the projected 2012 number one overall pick. He’s a lot like Matt Stafford IMO. Good size with good bulk and a cannon, pro style system, alpha male, not very mobile but great balance in pocket. I would say Stafford was a bit more polished and had a stronger arm, but Barkley still has at least a full year to go.

        • Matt

          Good points you guys…

          My concern with Luck (I watch every game), is that he doesn’t make any challenging throws. His only big plays seem to happen on blown coverages. Happened at Oregon quite a bit. There’s a reason he was 20-24 passing last night. Literally every throw was a 7 yard pass to somebody wide open as a check down or in the flat. I don’t want to portray this kid in a totally negative light. He’s definitely very smart and pretty dang mobile. But I just can’t help but see a Jimmy Clausen or Trent Edwards, as in, the stats look pretty but if you watch the game, you see nothing but high percentage passes that won’t be there all game in the NFL.

          The problem with Luck being a game manager, is that he would come to a very untalented Seahawks offense where he would have to make plays in order to win. The Troy Aikman comparison is nice, but he also had an all world offense around him. At some point, we just have to acknowledge the fact thaat any QB prospect we draft comes with a real risk. My fear is that we draft a kid (whoever it may be), that has no idea what it’s like to be under pressure all game, and make difficult throws into tight windows. This is what scares me about Andrew Luck, but actually gives me a little more faith in Locker (despite inconsistency). We know that Locker can make plays with guys in his face and little to no help around him.

          I do agree that Luck is better than Ponder (ie bigger, faster, little better arm), but the difference in skill set doesn’t justify to me that one is a “lock” at #1, while the other is a mid round prospect.

          All that said, whoever PC and JS go after in the 2011 draft, they better figure out quickly who they need to surround those guys with, as well as put them in a scheme that fits their talents. Just think for a minute, put Andrew Luck and Jake Locker on the Seahawks offense right now…who do you think has more success?

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