While Louisiana State quarterback JaMarcus Russell flirts with being the top pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, don't expect the best receiver of his career to go long after. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe teamed with Russell for the most prolific scoring combo in school history, and Bowe is poised to be the first senior receiver off the board come April.
Although Bowe didn't play football until his junior year of high school, he started of quickly with 32 catches for 624 yards and two touchdowns in his first season.
Bowe then broke out in his senior season, catching 40 passes for 822 yards and 14 touchdowns, earning all-state honors while leading his team to the playoffs. He was also a dangerous return man, taking six kicks back more than 45 yards including three returned for scores. On the way to a state championship, Bowe accumulated 195 yards and three touchdowns in three playoff games. A newcomer to football just two years before, Bowe had become one of the nation's blue chip receiving prospects.
Bowe played in 13 games as a true freshman, serving as the team's No. 4 receiver behind future NFL players Michael Clayton (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Devery Henderson (New Orleans Saints) and Skyler Green (Cincinnati Bengals). He caught nine passes for 106 yards on the season as the team went on to win the National Championship against Oklahoma.
In his sophomore season, Bowe caught 39 passes for 597 yards and a team-best five touchdowns. He saved the best for last, however, catching eight passes for 122 yards in the Capital One Bowl against Iowa.
Bowe emerged as the team's leading receiver his junior year, with 41 catches for 710 yards and nine touchdowns. He averaged 17.3 yards per reception and set an LSU record by catching at least one touchdown pass in seven straight games.
Prior to the 2006 season, Bowe underwent LASIK eye surgery in hopes of fixing problems with dropped passes. He went on to lead the team in receiving once again, this time with 65 catches for 990 yards and a school-record 12 touchdowns. Bowe had a career game against Kentucky, catching six passes for 111 yards and three scores. He broke single-season receiving touchdowns record with score against Notre Dame in Sugar Bowl win.
When it was said and done, Bowe played in 50 games at LSU and was one of the school's all-time best receivers. He teamed with top quarterback prospect JaMarcus Russell for 23 touchdowns, the best scoring combo in school history. Now he enters the draft as the nation's top senior wideout.
Bowe has a strong, solid build, measuring 6-foot-2, 222 pounds at the Senior
Bowl. While he doesn't possess explosive speed (he should run in the 4.5s at
the NFL Scouting Combine in February), he has excellent leaping ability, body
control and good hands.
As one would expect with a player of Bowe's size, he is a very tough player that is not afraid to go over the middle. Bowe is also an excellent run blocker.
Also, let's not forget that Bowe was new to football late in high school. He has seen a steady upward progression in ability during both his high school and college careers. Bowe has plenty of potential, and he has only begun to scratch the surface.
In today's day and age, where so much stock is put in measurables, Bowe's timed speed causes him to suffer in the eyes of some. He is not a burner and does not possess great quickness. While obviously a solid receiver, the lack of burst takes away from his big-play ability.
Bowe is also still pretty raw and needs to work on catching the ball away from his body. He also needs to refine his route-running for the next level.
Having shown solid receiving ability and undergoing LASIK surgery a year ago, one has to wonder if Bowe's spurts of dropped passes are the result of a lack of concentration. While Bowe was pretty reliable during his senior season at LSU, he had quite a few drops during recent Senior Bowl practices. Although one should put more stock into his game tape, there really isn't ever a good time for a receiver to drop the routine passes.
With Notre Dame's Jeff Samardzija trading in footballs for fastballs, Bowe is now the top senior receiving prospect behind underclassmen Calvin Johnson and Dwayne Jarrett.
This April, Bowe should come off the board sometime during the latter third
of the first round. Four of the most likely destinations are the Dallas Cowboys
(No. 22), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 23), New England Patriots (No. 24 or 28) and
San Diego Chargers (No. 30). All four teams are in need of a receiver - the
latter three because they just don't have legitimate No. 1 and the Cowboys since
Terrell Owens usually seems to wear out his welcome within about two years.
About Chris Nelson
Chris Nelson is a college student at Georgia State University currently majoring in journalism. Chris has been playing fantasy baseball and football for nearly a decade. He one day hopes to be a beat writer for the Miami Dolphins while eventually reaching the pinnacle of sports journalism, that being the ability to write about coffee, traveling, kids softball and whatever else he wants, all the while being paid good money by a national publication to do it. He has been a KFFL contributor since 2006.
Don't miss these great reports....