In a span of three months or so, Da’Quan Bowers has gone from a top overall pick to a possibility for the Broncos with one of their two picks in the second round.
Bowers is an elite prospect with a surgically repaired knee.
The fact that Bowers has fallen out of the first round means that teams are genuinely concerned with his knee, which may require microfracture surgery, and overall durability. Will the knee problems cause him to lose the explosiveness that once made him a blue chip prospect?
Teams will have to keep debating the risk/reward with Bowers because of the possibility that Bowers could still be a dominant defensive end at the NFL level.
Bowers was considered one of the most complete and dynamic athletes in the draft until more information started to come out about his knee. Still, he has shown that he can be dominant against the run and the pass.
So, would the Broncos be willing to take the plunge and draft Bowers with one of their two second round picks if he falls that far? Or is it possible that Bowers will keep sliding, possibly into the third round where the team might be more willing to risk a pick?
I think it’s likely, mainly because a lot of teams seem really bothered by the knee. Still, the debate rages on because people seem to either think Bowers is the next great thing or a highly overrated player who will never last in the NFL. There doesn’t seem to be any in-between.
In addition to having the knee problems, Bowers is a one-year wonder of sorts. He managed only four sacks in his first two seasons, but then totaled 15.5 in 2010.
Some contend that he shouldn’t have been ranked as high as he was prior to the revelations about his knee, that maybe he was, at most, the third or fourth best pass-rusher overall.
Then there are those who say that Bowers is still a can’t-miss pass rusher, the best out of this draft class, with a very high ceiling. That is, as long as his knee doesn’t have the kind of impact on his game that many are fearful of.
Getting back to the Broncos, we now know that they already have an elite pass rusher, Von Miller, and still need help at defensive tackle, safety, cornerback and then on the offensive side of the ball.
It’s expected that Miller will play strong-side linebacker in the Broncos new 4-3 scheme, at least on first and second down, and on third downs he may drop down and play defensive end. He is versatile enough to do a lot of things for the team.
Elvis Dumervil will most likely be a full-time defensive end, and it’s also thought that Robert Ayers will establish himself at the opposite end.
Adding Bowers would mean getting yet another possibly great pass rusher, but it might also be viewed as a luxury pick, since the Broncos already addressed that need by drafting Von Miller.
There are numerous areas that the Broncos can focus on in the second round—top-rated players at defensive tackle, cornerback, safety and even running back and tight end will likely be available for the Broncos with picks No. 36 and 46—so, Denver may have to pass on Bowers.
Still, it’s an interesting question, and it might resurface again for Denver in the third round. Then again, what does that say about Bowers' knee if in spite of all his supposed talent and upside he goes from top overall pick to third round selection?
The Broncos may need to just keep passing instead of trying to make a splash.