Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, listed by some as a potential candidate to go No. 1 overall, may see his stock slip after a rather disappointing performance during his much-anticipated pro day workout Friday.
Bowers, according to sources on the scene, measured in at 6034 (6-3 1/2) and 276 pounds and was clocked at 4.91 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That time, coming off a hand-held stopwatch from a league scout, would have placed Bowers 21st among the 24 defensive ends tested this year in the event at the scouting combine. Only Oklahoma's Jeremy Beal (5.16), TCU's Wayne Daniels (5.03) and Boise State's Ryan Winterswyk (4.96) were slower when tested in Indianapolis.
To be fair, the 40-yard dash is hardly the end-all, be-all measurement for football players, especially defensive linemen, who will rarely (if ever) be asked to run 40 yards in a straight line on a football field. It is also important to note that Bowers is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. The surgery kept Bowers sidelined for the combine agility tests and Clemson's initial pro day on March 10.
Unfortunately for Bowers, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 5-rated player overall, the lack of explosiveness demonstrated in his slow times in the 40-yard dash were also evident in his broad jump and vertical jump. In these events, Bowers tested at 9'2" and 34.5", respectively. These results were better in comparison to other defensive ends tested at the combine, but were characterized by the scout as "average for the position."
Another scout characterized Bowers' workout as a whole as "sluggish."
I've argued in the past that Bowers' eye-popping totals in 2010 (including a nation-leading 15.5 sacks) had been more of a function of an aggressive Clemson defense rather than the speed typically associated with highly productive pass rushers. Bowers, while powerful and possessing good lateral quickness, simply is not a quick-twitch athlete with a high degree of explosiveness. It is a primary reason why league sources characterized Bowers as an "overrated" defensive end in the 2011 draft.
Not surprisingly, considering his game-tape, Bowers was at his best during the shuttle drills. He was particularly fast in the 3-cone drill (6.95), demonstrating his ability to change directions fluidly and the acceleration he used so effectively in closing on quarterbacks last season. Only three defensive ends tested in Indianapolis tested faster in the 3-cone drill this year -- Texas' Sam Acho (6.69 seconds), Fresno State's Chris Carter (6.88) and Wisconsin's J.J. Watt (6.88). Of the three, only Watt (6-6, 290 pounds) is heavier than Bowers.
The fast times in this event, which requires heavy pivoting of the knee and acceleration, provide some evidence that Bowers' knee has healed.
That's good news for Bowers. However, it also limits his ability to pawn off his less-than-explosive measureables as a result of the knee not yet being fully healed.
Bowers' disappointing workout won't take the place of his dominant junior season in the eyes of scouts. It could, however, lead to a tumble on draft day, especially considering how closely rated Bowers has been in comparison to fellow pass rushers Robert Quinn, Cameron Jordan, Watt and others.