Saints Draft Sleeper: "The Versatile Mr. Bowden" - Detillier
The Versatile Mr. Bowden…
There is always a terrific college player in every draft class that has played across the board and in the right fit in the NFL he could be a standout player, but it has to be the right “fit”.
That player in this draft class is Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden, Jr.
At Kentucky Bowden has been a wide receiver, kickoff return man, a punt returner, played as a Wildcat Quarterback, been used on “jet-sweep” plays as a running back and in 2019 he also played quarterback.
Bowden racked up a school record for rushing yards as a quarterback with 1,369 yards, he caught passes for 1,303 yards on 114 receptions (averaging 11.4 yards per catch), he returned 71 kickoffs for 1,628 yards and brought back 9 punts for 199 yards at Kentucky.
He was willing to switch positions as a junior for the betterment of the team after catching 67 passes for 745 yards and 5 TD’s as a sophomore.
In a season in which he rushed for 1,468 yards, averaged 7.9 yards per rush and scored 13 touchdowns he also caught 30 passes for 348 yards. Bowden also averaged 24.4 yards per kickoff return in 2019 and he returned 4 punts for an average of 13.3 yards per runback.
No doubt Bowden will need some work on refining his route running skills, getting into and out of his cuts and breaks cleaner and setting up defenders in a better fashion, but he is immensely gifted as a football player.
The former Kentucky signal-caller is cat quick, he is elusive as a runner in the open-field, he has the ability to make the first man miss out in the open and he has tremendous skillset to get up in the air and make the catch over a defender.
And in the right fit for a coach like Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, Bill Belichick in New England, Sean Payton in New Orleans or Mike Tomlin with the Pittsburgh Steelers Lynn Bowden, Jr. has a chance to be an impact player in the NFL and fast.
In a league that looks a lot like college football the talented player in the right scheme is gold.
WHAT MAKES BOWDEN SPECIAL?
I spoke to a veteran SEC scout and he also had strong comments about Bowden.
“I’m getting up in age now because I played against Freddie Solomon, who was a quarterback at the University of Tampa, and in the NFL and he became a terrific wide receiver in the NFL, “the veteran scout said. “I coached against Hines Ward (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Antwaan Randle-El (Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins) and Julian Edelman (New England Patriots) and scouted guys like Braxton Miller (Houston Texans) and others like them, but Bowden is special.
Lynn has all the attributes to excel in the NFL because as you point out his toughness, his competitive nature, his open-field running skills, his football intelligence and he wants to not just play, but be a top level player in the NFL. But I point out again his space quickness is what makes him very special. I have pushed Bowden hard in meetings with my team and while others maybe thought there were more refined ends-I also look at his upside as a wide-out. He sacrificed what was best for him to help the team. That means something to me.”
For so many years I have heard my Mathews neighbor Joe Clark, who played and coached for NFL Hall of Fame head coach Paul Brown with the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, and coached Jake Delhomme and Kurt Warner in NFL Europe, that the legendary Brown always had his coaches take notice on former high school and college quarterbacks that could convert to halfback, wide receiver or defensive back in the NFL.
“The drafts back then were late January or early February, but Coach (Paul) Brown was connected to so many head coaches and assistants in college football that we would get on the phone and talk to them about quarterbacks and could we put them at another spot in the NFL, if they couldn’t throw the ball well enough,” Clark said. “Back then the quarterbacks ran the ball so much they were like another halfback and could that translate to the NFL at other spots. Look at today. All these college concepts the NFL is using. You will find players that can move to another spot or be “situational” players too.”
WHEN COULD HE BE DRAFTED?
I really believe that four wide receivers will come off the board before the New Orleans Saints pick at #24 in Round One in Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III and LSU’s Justin Jefferson. If any one of those 4 players are on the board when the Saints select, they would be hard to pass on.
But if all on off the board, do the Saints look at defense at either cornerback or linebacker or do they decide they will go with either Baylor’s Denzel Mims or Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk at wide receiver.
If the decision for the Saints is to pick a defensive player and they select a wide receiver in Round 3 and Lynn Bowden, Jr., would have to be given heavy consideration.
He would be a perfect “fit” player in the Saints offense.
Mike Detillier, based in southern Louisiana, is editor and publisher of Mike Detillier's NFL Draft Report.
Go to www.mikedetillier.com to purchase his 2020 NFL Draft Report.