With just over a month to go before the 2011 NFL Draft (the one aspect of football we are still certain will occur this year), news and tips about whom the Redskins are interested in drafting still remain scarce, at best. In mock drafts, the team has been linked to a handful of different quarterbacks (namely Cam Newton, Jake Locker, and Blaine Gabbert), several different defenders, and even some offensive lineman.
So in the spirt of complete uncertainty, we can now potentially throw in another name of a player whom was previously projected to be long gone by the time Washington makes their pick (#10 overall), due to some recent injury concerns: defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, from Clemson University.
In early, pre-scouting combine mock drafts, it was believed that Bowers would likely be long gone after the first five picks were made, and there was a strong chance that he could go #1 overall to the Carolina Panthers. But with recent reports that NFL personnel executives are concerned about an injury Bowers suffered to his knee, which required surgery in January. While Bowers representatives originally downplayed the extent of the surgery, the fact that Bowers did not participate at all in the combined, and then pushed back his Pro Day workout for NFL teams from March 10th to April 1st raises some red flags about how hurt his knee really was.
In light of this, Wes Bunting of the National Football Post projected that Bowers would fall completely out of the top 10 in his latest mock draft (released today), and would be selected by the Minnesota Vikings at #12 overall.
So, that presents the question: should the Redskins select Bowers, if he’s available at #10 overall? My opinion is an emphatic “Yes,” assuming he comes back with a completely clean bill of health (something Vinny Cerrato knew absolutely nothing about; see Kelly, Malcom).
The successful teams in the NFL take the very best player available to them, with a preference towards players who play closest to the line of scrimmage (offensive and defensive linemen). If you have a chance to take a player who, you could argue, is one of the top five players in this draft overall, you have to pull the trigger (again, assuming his ligaments are not made of wet tissue; see Kelly, Malcolm).
Sure, Bowers may be a little better suited to play defensive end in a 4-3 defense, but with his frame (6’3, 280 lbs) and outstanding lower-body strength, he has the tools to also successfully line up as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. And let’s face it: the Redskins need help at almost every level of their defense, especially ont he defensive line. While old man Vonnie Holliday played shockingly well for the Redskins in spurts, how much can you really expect out of a guy who will turn 36 in December?
Coaches will always say: get the 11 very best guys on the field, and make it their job to successfully find a position for them (unless you’re a disgruntled, moody, and lazy slob like Albert Haynesworth). bowers would be an instant upgrade over any player the Redskins currently have on their roster at defensive end.
Bowers is scheduled to meet with seven different teams picking in the top eight of the upcoming draft (he doesn’t have a meeting scheduled with San Francisco, to date), and he & his representatives hope to show teams that his knee is completely healthy.
But even after that, if Bowers is somehow available when the Redskins are on the clock with the 10th pick (and again, assuming his knee really is healthy), they’d be foolish not to jump on Bowers.