What’s better than getting a steal in the draft? Now, the meaning “steal” in the real world may mean something nagative, but in the football world, it’s the same as finding gold. The Buccaneers are known to do their fair share of “stealing”, but when will they end? Hopefully, Never.
Three years ago, the Bucs stole Josh Freeman by selecting him as the third quarterback taken in the 2009 draft, along with E.J. Biggers and Sammy Stroughter in the seventh round. Last year, the Bucs got to steal wide receiver Mike Williams in the fourth round, and Legarrette Blount off waiver wires after the Tenessee Titans released the undrafted free agent. This year, it seems the Bucs drafted a lot of guys who could be potenial steals.
One name stands out though. That man’s name is Da’Quan Bowers. Maybe you’ve heard of him? Once considered as the best player in the entire 2011 draft, Bowers slipped all the way to the Bucs in the secondround (51st overall) because of a reported knee injury that could possibly shorten his NFL career.
Well according to Da’Quan, that was a bad mistake by everyone who needed of a pass rush in the first round. After being awfully shy this offseason to anyone not with ESPN or NFL Network, he finally had a nice chat with Justin Pawlowski, or the Commish Friday afternoon on 620 WDAE. I don’t know about anyone else, but I really enjoy listening to Justin talk about anything sports. I find his opinions and logic very interesting in a positive way.
Justin started out with a simple, common greeting:
“How are you?”
Bowers quickly responded with:
“I’m great, can’t get no better.”
After being in a shell for almost three months now.
As a Bucs fan, it’s nice to hear how confident Da’Quan sounded when he said that. He didn’t hesitate for a second and had a really upbeat voice. I know I shouldn’t really dig too deep into it, but it seems like any football news is good news now-a-days, isn’t it?
The two talked about several subjects on Friday, such as the College World Series, Raheem Morris, the draft process, Gaines Adams, the lockout, the offseason, the D-line, and of course that famous knee. The main reason I listened to the interview was because I knew Justin was just as excited as every other fan to hear about Da’Quans knee injury.
As expected, he got right to the point.
“How is that knee?”
“My knee is great, you know. It’s back to where I need it to be. It’s back to playing shape. I’ve been rehabbing and working out ALL through out the whole summer, even through the lockout, you know. The knee is fine. I’m running, cutting, jumping…everything’s a full go.”
Wow. Did anyone else shed a tear while reading that quote?
Some of you skeptics out there may be saying to yourself “Okay, well his current knee isn’t the problem, the problem is the longevity of the knee.” Well don’t worry my friends, good ol’ Justin covered that too.
“There were reports that came out that it (the knee) was degenerative? Is that the case?”
“That’s not the case, you know. I had another injury to the same knee, but it was nothing Serious. Nothing that needed to have anything surgically repaired”.
The response by Bowers was nice and all, but I’m sure everyone can agree that he isnt the most specific person in the world, but wait! Justin seemed to agree with us as well. He broke the question down into lamens terms for Da’Quan.
“Is your knee going to prevent you from having a long career in the NFL?”
“I don’t think so, you know. Dr. Andrews gave my a long term effect due to my injury that I have. I developed a close relationship with him over the last couple months and he said I had some damage to my knee but it wasn’t anything that could prohibit me from having a great NFL career. He said he’s seen a lot worse knees than mine that went on to have great careers in the NFL.”
For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Andrews is a highly respected doctor for atheletes and a highly credible person.
The next question sort of set Da’Quan’s status back a little bit for me after being asked:
“There were a couple of big events down in Bradenton this week. The rookie symposium and Josh Freeman put together a mini camp. 51 players did show up for that, you did not. Why not?”
To that he said:
“I didn’t wanna miss rehab and training, you know. I thought this was a crucial point, the lockout maybe ending in the next couple weeks. I didn’t want to put myself behind from my great rehab program I had going for myself so I decided to skip the symposium and the minicamp.”
At first, I thought nothing of it. I figured that was a wonderful answer! But if anyone knows me, I tend to over think things. I thought to myself “Well, if everything’s a ‘Full Go’ like he stated earlier, why would it hurt to attend a simple symposium or shake hand with a few Buccaneers at their mini-camp?” I also understand that Da’Quan knows his body way more than I do and I’m probably just being another paranoid fan, but I cant help but to wonder about his response. Although, at the end of the day, if that’s what’s needed for him to preform the way he’s expected to preform, then more power to him.
Back to the interview.
Justin then described how he interviewed Adrian Clayborn and Clayborn said that he loved kicking offensive lineman’s asses. So he asked Da’Quan:
“Is that something you pride in your game?”
Bower’s didn’t flinch when he was asked that question.
“Oh that’s number one, that’s first. That’s always first. Beating down offensive lineman. Then next to the quarterback.”
And after being the second worst team in the sack column last year, you know the Commish had to ask if he could rush the passer.
“Yeah that’s not gonna be a problem. If I don’t know how to do anything else in that defense, I know how to sack a quarter back. That’s the least of my worries.” Said Da’Quan with confidence.
Pawlowski then wanted the second round pick to describe his game.
“Are you powerful? Strong? You fast?”
“My game, I have the speed Gaines(Adams) had, but I’m a lot stronger than he was. You know, I’m very strong. I can not only run by you, I can run through you if necessary. And as far as the run game, I can hold my own. I’m not gonna get tossed around by anyone in the run game, offensive tackles or tight ends.”
“Halleluja!” Is what came to mind when he said that about his game. It reminded me no less of a man named Julius Peppers. Now, I’m not comparing the two, but the size and physical attributes certainly point toward someone as freakish as Peppers.
On top of that, when it comes to which side he prefers to play on, it wont even matter.
“I have played both my entire life. I have no preferance.”
It was great to finally hear from the man who was supposed to go first overall once upon a time. Also, from the sound of it, other teams will suffer for skipping on him in April.
Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out with his knee.
As far as where the entire defensive line as a whole is heading? De’Quan went on the record saying:
“If not THE best, one of the best.”
Music to any Bucs fan’s ears, huh?
To top it all off, the only message Bowers had for all Buccaneer fans:
“Get yo’ popcorn, ‘cuz it’s gonna be a long ride to the Superbowl.”
Is the lockout over yet?