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Zackary Bowman, CB

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 197 | College: Nebraska
Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange

After a stellar career at New Mexico Military Institute, Bowman was regarded as the prize junior college recruit when he enrolled at Nebraska in 2005. Then, a rash of leg problems occurred, forcing the talented pass defender to undergo two surgeries for a left knee anterior cruciate ligament. The first was in March 2006 after getting hurt during spring camp. He was sidelined once again in March 2007, after he ruptured his right knee patella tendon.

After a long rehabilitation period, Bowman returned to the lineup in 2007 after missing the previous season. He then suffered a left hamstring injury that would limit him to just four starting assignments in his final campaign. Many scouts feel he possesses prototypical size for an NFL cornerback. He also has great leaping ability and posted a Nebraska cornerback record in the 40-yard dash, clocking a 4.36 in January of 2006.

Bowman grew up on an Air Force base in Anchorage, Alaska. He was a standout at Bartlett High School, where he was a three-time first-team All-State selection and the state's Player of the Year as a senior. He also excelled on the hardwood at Bartlett, where his teammates included Kansas hoops star Mario Chalmers.

In 2003, Bowman enrolled at New Mexico Military Institute, playing football for head coach John O'Mara. He earned junior college All-American honors and was the second-ranked junior college recruit in the nation according to Rivals.com in 2004. In two seasons at the school, he intercepted 10 passes, including six as a sophomore when he scored two touchdowns on returns totaling 139 yards.

Bowman also had 18 pass break-ups as a freshman, but had just four breakups as a sophomore when teams threw away from his side of the field. He made more than 50 tackles as a freshman, including 40 solo stops, and as a sophomore had two fumble recoveries and two fumbles caused. In addition to his defensive accolades, he also saw spot duty on offense as a wide receiver.

Bowman selected Nebraska over offers from Oklahoma, Texas Tech and South Carolina among others in 2005. He missed the Pittsburgh contest with a leg injury, but started five late-season games at right cornerback. He produced 27 tackles (24 solos) with a pair of interceptions and 14 pass deflections during his first season with the Huskers.

Two leg surgeries wiped out his 2006 campaign, with Bowman returning to the field in 2007. A left hamstring forced him to leave the Southern California game and sit out the following week vs. Ball State. He managed to start four of 11 games, seeing action at nickel back and right cornerback. He would close out his short career by posting 29 tackles (22 solos) with a stop for a loss and a pressure. He also picked off and broke up another as a senior.


Positives: Has a lean, angular frame with good muscle tone, long arms, very large hands and minimal body fat … Has outstanding timed speed, but because of his injuries, it does not always translate to the football field … Before his injuries, he showed good hip snap, opening them up and not losing any acceleration in transition … Plays the ball in the air, displaying the leaping ability and timing to high point the throws … Has the valid recovery burst to get back on the route when beaten … Shows good balance and body control to adjust to the ball and adequate football instincts, finding the ball when playing in man coverage … Has adequate toughness as a hitter in run support and is an effective drag-down tackler … Works hard in the weight room, and when healthy he's a respected leader on the defense … Shows good strength in his jam and good playing speed to run in stride with wide receivers … Has good arm length to execute the press at the line of scrimmage and good hip rotation when changing direction … Has good ball reaction while in man coverage, when he can see the ball … Has adequate range and recovery ability, making up ground quickly when the ball is in the air … Shows good adjustment to the ball and is an adequate tackler in the open field … .Has a smooth backpedal with good length and stride, rather than taking choppy steps … Keeps position out of transition and is good at reacting to the route when he doesn't use a shuffle-and-bail technique at the X's.

Negatives: Has adequate quickness and redirection out of his breaks but, perhaps to compensate for his leg injuries, he seemed to be taking an extra couple of steps in transition as a senior (never did this before he was hurt) … Durability is a very big concern, as he looks like he has good timed speed vs. a stopwatch, but it did not translate to the field as a senior … Possesses marginal ability to play with his back to the quarterback, never turning around for the ball … Doesn't recognize deep routes when in his shuffle technique … Struggles to separate from blockers in run support … Has adequate ability to diagnose plays, but is late to see receivers running out routes … Has marginal ability to read and react to the run when getting run off by receivers … Displays a smooth backpedal and turn, but only marginal explosion out of his breaks … Occasionally loses receivers who are running vertical routes and slot receivers who are running in the flat while in zone coverage … A one-speed defensive back who possesses a marginal burst … Displays only adequate hands, showing some inconsistency when trying to field the ball, despite big, soft hands … Has only adequate toughness as a tackler in run support, lacking good aggression when making the hit … Needs to become more aggressive, as he shied away from blockers too much in run force, failing to keep outside containment.

Compares To: FABIAN WASHINGTON-Oakland … Husker cornerbacks need to come with a "buyer beware" tag on their jerseys. Washington proved to be a bust and injuries make Bowman a risky draft pick, despite his timed speed. He is never going to be an efficient open-field tackler and lacks great ball recognition skills. Sure, he can stay with the receivers on routes and break up a bunch of passes, but more often than not, he will bite on play-action and pump fakes, giving up the big play. Anything more than a seventh-round pick on this medical risk and a general manager will regret making that decision.

Career Notes

In two seasons at Nebraska, Bowman started nine of 22 games he appeared in, recording 56 tackles (46 solos) with a stop for a 2-yard loss, 20 pass deflections, a quarterback pressure and three interceptions … For his complete college career, he picked off 13 passes and broke up 40 others.

2007 Season

Appeared in eleven games, starting at right cornerback vs. Southern California, Iowa State and Missouri, and at nickel back vs. Kansas … Suffered a left hamstring pull vs. USC that forced him to sit out the following week vs. Ball State … Finished with 29 tackles (22 solos) and a stop for a 2-yard loss … Deflected six passes and intercepted another … Sidelined after rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee midway through spring practice.

2007 Game Analysis

Opened the season with one solo tackle and a quarterback hurry vs. Nevada … Intercepted one pass in the end zone late in the game and registered seven tackles (4 solos) vs. Wake Forest … Recorded five solo tackles vs. Iowa State in Week 5 … Added eight tackles (5 solos) and broke up three passes the following week vs. Missouri … Broke up one pass in back-to-back games vs. Texas A&M and Texas … Made three tackles (2 solos) and one pass breakup vs. Kansas … Finished the season with two solo tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss, vs. Colorado.

2006 Season

Bowman suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on the third day of fall practice and missed the season, using his red-shirt season after undergoing reconstructive surgery.

2005 Season

Bowman played in eleven games, earning starts in the final five games of the year at right cornerback … Sat out the Pittsburgh clash with a leg bruise … Recorded 27 tackles (24 solos) and had a team-high 14 pass break-ups … Ranked second on the team with a pair of interceptions … His play in the late part of the season helped Nebraska improve to 10th nationally in pass efficiency defense … With Bowman in the starting lineup, NU's final five opponents connected on a combined 45.8 percent of their passes … Was also a key performer on Nebraska's special teams units, serving as a gunner on the punting unit, helping Nebraska to a second place national ranking in net punting.

2005 Game Analysis

Registered one solo tackle and one pass break-up on opening weekend vs. Maine … Made two solo tackles and broke up one pass vs. Wake Forest … Had three tackles (2 solos) and broke up one pass vs. Iowa State … Registered three solo tackles and had a fourth quarter interception vs. Baylor … Made five solo tackles, including one for a 1-yard loss, and deflected one pass vs. Missouri … Had four solo tackles and a pass deflection in the Oklahoma clash … Credited with two solo tackles and one pass breakup vs. Kansas State … Finished with two solo tackles and two pass deflections vs. Colorado … Intercepted one pass and added one assisted tackle, vs. Michigan in the Alamo Bowl. Bowman blanketed the talented Wolverine receivers throughout the game, picking off his second career pass in the third quarter, while setting a Husker bowl record with five pass break-ups. He sealed the Alamo Bowl victory on the game's final play, assisting on a tackle after a wild sequence of laterals.

Injury Report

2005: Sat out the Pittsburgh game (9/17) with a leg contusion.

2006: Suffered a left knee anterior cruciate ligament in August camp, undergoing surgery and was lost for the season.

2007: Ruptured his right knee patella tendon in March camp, undergoing surgery … Left the Southern California contest (9/15) with a left hamstring pull that sidelined him for the next game vs. Ball State (9/22).

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.43 in the 40-yard dash … 1.5 10-yard dash … 2.58 20-yard dash … 32-inch vertical jump … 10'5" broad jump … 335-pound bench press … 475-pound squat … 305-pound power clean … 33-inch arm length … 10 1/4-inch hands.

Combine: 4.39 in the 40-yard dash … 1.51 10-yard dash … 2.54 20-yard dash … 4.21 20-yard shuttle … 7.13 three-cone drill … 30.5-inch vertical jump … 10'2" broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times.

Junior College

Enrolled at New Mexico Military Institute, playing football for head coach John O'Mara.

2004 Season: Earned junior college All-American honors and was the second-ranked junior college recruit in the nation according to Rivals.com in 2004 … Intercepted six passes for 139 yards in returns, including two touchdowns, as he posted 40 tackles while causing and recovering a pair of fumbles … Also deflected four passes.

2003 Season: Had 18 pass break-ups as a freshman, producing 50 tackles (40 solos) and four interceptions.

High School

Attended Bartlett (Anchorage, Alaska) High School … Three-time first-team All-State pick and named the state's Player of the Year as a senior … Also excelled in basketball, where his teammates included Kansas hoops standout Mario Chalmers.


Graduated in December 2007 with a degree in Sociology … Son of Zackary and Zelma Bowman, who live at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska … Volunteered his time as a speaker during American Education Week, and on Nebraska's team hospital visits … Born 11/18/84 … Resides in Anchorage, Alaska.


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