40: 4.65 (estimated)
Excellent combo of size and athleticism. Has a good first step to challenge the corner with good straight-line burst upfield. Can play with his hand off the ground or in the dirt and it doesn't change his quickness off the edge. Shows good closing speed in space on a scrambling quarterback. Makes open field tackles because he does a nice job breaking down, wrapping up, and delivering hit. Shows nice leg drive and hand placement to develop into a powerful bull rusher. Can get leverage against the run, particularly the tight end who is no match for him, and make the stop at the point of attack.
Not super instinctual. Is consistently late reacting to snap, and looks to read and react a bit too much instead of attacking upfield. Has trouble disengaging from big, powerful offensive tackles and doesn't get off blocks well. Tends to overly rely on his edge speed and doesn't have a lot of developed moves to disengage from blocker as a pass rusher. Less effective when you ask him to hold the point of attack and doesn't do a good job consistently getting leverage vs. the run. Doesn't have great lean or burst to dip the shoulder and turn the corner consistently. Needs to improve his balance and do a better job keeping his feet under him. Too effectively chipped by running back at times. Has trouble taking on the lead blocker at times in the hole and can be beat at the point of attack by a fullback. Needs to improve his recognition when coming off the corner, keying on the quarterback too much.
Bowers has elite potential as a defensive end that has similar athletic and physical tools as players like Julius Peppers and Mario Williams had. So he has that sort of potential to be a matchup nightmare at the next level. But he's raw and didn't really start to produce and live up to expectations until this past year. He came to Clemson as one of the premier prospects in the nation (No. 1 according to ESPN) and played early as a freshman in their rotation. He started 6 games that year, finishing with 47 tackles, 8 for loss, 1 sack, 3 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, and 15 quarterback pressures. The following year he assumed the starting position, but missed most of 4 games with a knee injury during the middle of the season. He had 58 tackles, 11 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 breakup, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery, and 12 pressures. Dominated his ACC competition this past year as a junior, with a sack in every game ACC game, and all but 2 games all year long. He finished with 12 starts, 63 tackles, 25 for loss, 15.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 breakups, 1 forced fumble, and 19 pressures. He led the nation in sacks. His father died this past August, which reportedly had a profound effect on him which led to his increased production.
Bowers has the potential to be one of the more feared pass rushers in the league because he has such a good blend of size and athleticism. He's a good enough athlete that he is a legit prospect to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. He'll fit best in a scheme that won't ask him to drop off in coverage too often, although he has the athleticism to develop to a point where he could be okay there. But he's not ready to that now, and is best keeping him around the line of scrimmage and allowing him to attack upfield. Personally, I don't think he's quite as good as Julius Peppers or Mario Williams, but the comparisons aren't completely off. He has the potential to give fits to opposing tackles because of his unique blend of speed, size, and strength. He's probably a better fit as a left end in terms of his pass rush potential, facing less athletic right tackles. But I think he could also struggle playing the run at that position because he doesn't do a great job holding the point of attack. But he has the tools to get better. He has 15-sack potential on the edge, but I would bet most years he gets in the 8-10 sack range. The main obstacle for him is going to be his hands. Improving his technique will likely be what makes or breaks his NFL career. If he can really develop and polish that bull rush, he'll be very dangerous on the edge, as well as using his hands to keep blockers from locking on as well. Because of that, I'm not convinced he's going to come in right away and take the league by storm, but he should be a decent rotational player from the get go. As with more time and development, he should start to take off by the end of his second or possibly third season if he takes to coaching. There is some bust potential as there almost always is with athletic defensive ends like Bowers. He may not be super instinctual or play with a ton of fire, so he may not take to coaching as readily as other players. I think if that happens, he won't be a terrible player, but he'll probably more in line with the guys that only get 4-6 sacks on an annual basis. He doesn't strike me as a potential Jamaal Anderson who will be a complete non-entity as a pass rusher.
Bowers would be a solid addition to the left side in Atlanta. While he would need to split reps, but he could be the team's starter at left end immediately. Although he'd probably be better used coming off the bench because he's still not quite developed either as a pass rusher or run stopper. He could probably be ready to contribute a couple of sacks as a rookie, but probably would be inconsistent there throughout the year. But as his second and third season approaches, assuming he takes to coaching, he can start to take off. He has the potential to be the team's primary pass rusher and heir apparent to Abraham, although he's not the caliber of speed rusher that Abe is. He'll probably be a guy that can consistently get 8-10 sacks in Atlanta, but there will be several games down the road where he can take over a game and dominate, and give them the caliber of playmaker they need to compete defensively against the top passing teams like the Saints, Packers, and Eagles in their conference.
Bowers definitely has first round potential and because of the position he plays and his potential to be one of the top guys in the league, he merits a Top 15 pick. But I'm not convinced he'll make the immediate impact that merits a Top 5 selection.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Rush: 3.5
Point Of Attack: 3.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.