Penn State Junior
PROS: Has good speed and range to make plays in pursuit. Works well when he's attacking the ball and working downhill. Shows nice hips and ability to match up in man coverage and able to work in zone as well. Can make the stop in the open field or at the point of attack. Can be physical, showing willingness to hit at times. Shows some burst off the corner as a blitzer.
CONS: Not a very instinctual defender. Can be a step or two late reacting to ballcarrier or throw. Tends to rely on his speed and burst to make up for lack of ideal awareness, and doesn't have great speed. Overpursues at times. Is a bit undersized as a tackler.
OVERVIEW: A good fit as a weakside linebacker at Penn State and in the pros. He is a fast player that shows good potential in coverage, but is limited by his lack of ideal instincts. In two years as a starter, he produced combining for 199 tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 3 picks, and scored two defensive touchdowns. Had some off-field issues at Penn State, suspended during the spring before his sophomore year due to his involvement in an on-campus fight at the end of his freshman year. He tested positive for marijuana prior to junior year. He was limited early this past year with a groin injury.
NFL FORECAST: Whether Bowman has legit character concerns I won't know because I won't ever meet him face to face. But assuming he doesn't, then he should be a solid pro. He won't be a star, but if he plays with a good middle linebacker, he is disciplined enough to be a productive player. He can make plays and has potential to be good in coverage. But he's not going to be a dynamic player because of his lack of instincts. With talent around him and in the right scheme, he'll be a solid complementary playmaker. If you ask him to be your top playmaker, then he'll disappoint. If he does have character issues, then his chances of being a consistent player are even less. He's a guy that may be closer to Ernie Sims than Lance Briggs.
ATL FORECAST: Bowman could be a nice option to groom behind Peterson for a year. Playing beside Lofton should give him the stability he needs. He can impact in coverage, but I'm not sure he's going to be the sort of instinctual player that the Falcons will keep long-term. He could play out his rookie contract and be a productive starter for two or three years, but I'm not sure he's the type of guy that will show steady improvement over the course of that time to merit a second contract from the team. But he is a pretty good fit in the Falcons scheme, which will allow him to attack the ball.
VALUE: Because of his lacking instincts, I think he would be a reach in the second round. But would make a solid third round pick for a 4-3 team.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
POINT OF ATTACK: 3.0
PASS RUSH: 2.5
Scouting reports of outside and inside linebackers in the 2010 draft.
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