Gaines Adams vs Da’Quan Bowers and other top DE Prospects (Includes Past and Present Combine/Pro Day Results)

Bowers easily splits two defenders en route to ball.
Bowers easily splits two defenders en route to ball. /

Da’Quan Bowers defensive end from the Clemson Tigers led the nation with 15.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss (which was good for 150 lost yards for opponents). He also chipped in an impressive 63 tackles. These are some very impressive numbers, especially for a defensive lineman. Bowers smashed the Clemson record for sacks in a season previously held by our man Gaines Adams (R.I.P). Some draft pundits believe Bowers could fall outside of the top twenty in the draft because of lingering issues with his knee. If he is sitting there at twenty, it is an absolute steal for the Bucs to take a chance and swing for the fence. We might just knock one out of the park.

When the Buccaneers landed Gaines Adams in the 2007 draft, I do not believe he was the first player on the Bucs draft board. Mel Kiper, (who I personally no longer value his opinion) had the Detroit Lions pegged to select Adams. The Buccaneers were in the perfect position because either Joe Thomas or Calvin Johnson would fall into their laps. This of course is what Mel Kiper protested even during the draft as the Lions were on the clock. He guaranteed the Lions can’t afford to use another pick on a wide receiver. Unfortunately for the Bucs, Kiper was dead wrong and Tampa ended up selecting the “best defensive player available” Gaines Adams. Adams most productive season as a Buccaneer produced 6.5 sacks, not horrible but enough to warrant Raheem Morris to call him out as a “bust” if he did not produce to the media.

Adams was the mentor of Da’Quan Bowers, after the untimely death of Adams, Bowers father passed away during spring practice. His last dying wish was for his son to become the top prospect in the NFL Draft. If not for a knee injury his son most likely would have made his father very proud. There are differences in the Bowers and Adams game, which I believe warrant a selection in the upcoming draft. Bowers would be more of an anchor on the defensive line, lining up as the left defensive end.

Most left defensive ends are considered bookends, while the right defensive end is looked at as the pass rusher. Bowers is athletic enough to get after the quarterback with consistency, but also hold his own against the run. Opposing tight ends will usually line up on the side of the left defensive end. When Gaines Adams worked out at the combine, he absolutely tore up the positional drills and athletic checks. His forty time was an outstanding 4.64, three cone was 7.19, broad jump an impressive 9’11” and his vertical leap was 35 inches (amazing considering Mike Williams jumped 33”). Adams never benched until his pro day when he put up 21 reps of 225lbs (Gerald McCoy put up 22).  The game tape on Adams showed that he was weak against the run, even against college tackles. He really only had one move to get by his opponents, which in college he was able to get away with because of his pure athleticism. Gaines Adams played at 6’6” 265 lbs.

Da’Quan Bowers is not the athletic freak that Adams was. Bowers recently held his pro day, many scouts left uneasy. Bowers was only able to bench at the combine where he posted a somewhat unimpressive 22 reps. At his pro day the numbers were no more impressive. He clocked a 4.91 forty time (which I do not care about, defensive ends rarely run forty yards straight), the three cone drill was 7.1 seconds (which shows acceleration, or lack thereof),  his broad jump was a 9’2”, while vertically leaping 34.5 inches. Watching Bowers on tape did not justify his rather weak workout numbers. Game film says Bowers is explosive, plays with great leverage, and is strong enough to shed blocks one handed at times. Bowers is a physically imposing looking young man at 6’4” 282lbs.

Numbers like Bowers put up could possibly drop him all the way to the Bucs pick at twenty. I will give a bit of a chart to show how Bowers compares to other top prospects. Robert Quinn is the athletic gem of this draft, he also weights much less than Bowers however. I believe the difference in weight will certainly help Bowers hold up against opposing linemen. I included some of the premier defensive ends in the NFL today, just so everyone could see how this seasons prospects compare to their professional counterparts.

NameHeight/Weight40 Yard Dash10 Yard SplitBench Press (225lbs.)Vertical JumpBroad JumpThree Cone Drill
Gaines Adams (Clemson, JR.) (Round 1 Pick 4 No. 4 overall 2007)6’6”/ 265lbs4.64 sec.1.68 sec.21 (Pro day 3/13/07)35”9’11”7.17 sec.
Adrian Clayborn (Iowa, SR.)6’4”/ 282lbs4.78 sec.1.61 sec.17 (Pro day)33” (combine)

35” (pro day 3/21/11)9’05” (combine)

9’06” (pro day 3/21/11)7.3 sec. (combine) 7.17 (pro day 3/21/11)Robert Quinn (University of North Carolina)6’4”/ 265lbs4.62 sec.1.61 sec.22 (combine) 24 (pro day 3/31/11)34” (combine) 33” (pro day 3/31/11)9’08” (combine) 10’06” (pro day 3/31/11)7.13 sec.Jared Allen (Idaho State) (Round 4 Pick 130, NO. 126 OVR) No pro day results6’6”/ 265lbs4.72 sec.1.68 sec.1333”10”7.11 sec.Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson, JR.) (Pro day 4/8/11)6’6”/ 282lbs4.91 sec. (pro day 4/8/11)2239.5” (4/8/11)7.1 sec. (4/8/11)Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue,6’4”/ 267lbs4.67 sec.1.61 sec.3133.5”10’02”7.18 sec.Cameron Jordan (California,6’4”/ 287lbs4.74 sec.1.74 sec.2531”9’09”7.07 sec.

J.J Watt (Nebraska)6’5”/ 290lbs4.81 sec.1.64 sec.3437”10’0”6.88 sec.
Aldon Smith (Missouri)6’4”/ 263lbs4.74 sec.1.66 sec2034”9’10”7.19 sec
Jabaal Sheard (Pittsburgh,6’3”/ 264lbs4.68 sec.1.59 sec.31”/32.5” (pro day 3/15/11)9’07”/ 9’04” (pro day 3/15/11)7.34 sec (pro day 3/15/11)
Mario Williams (North Carolina St.) Round 1 Pick 16’7”/ 295lbs4.70 sec.1.60 sec.3540.”10’00”7.21 sec.
Cameron Heyward (Ohio State)6’5”/ 294lbs4.95 sec. (private workout 3/31/11)35”
Justin Tuck (Notre Dame) R 3 P106’5”/265lbs4.71 sec. (Pro day 3/16/05)2437.5”9’10”7.33 sec.

*All statistics and times from

Jared Allen should be the first to admit that combine statistics mean nothing. Vernon Gholston was a workout warrior, an absolute freak for a defensive end according to the combine. Gholston has done so little to this point of his career, I will not even bother looking up his impressive combine. The point of my article is that combine numbers are great, but game film and intangibles are a much better scouting tool than men working out in shorts. If Da’Quan Bowers falling into the twenties is not just smoke screen by teams picking in the teens so he falls out of the top ten, I hope that the Bucs swing for the fences and hit a home run.