Draft Analysis: Adarius Bowman, WR, Oklahoma State Cowboys
by Bryce McRae
on April 3, 2008 @ 03:42:05
A highly touted prospect coming out of high school, Oklahoma State wide receiver Adarius Bowman's collegiate career was off to a rocky start after some off-field issues at the University of North Carolina that resulted in his dismissal from the school. After a year sitting out, Bowman's name resurfaced at Oklahoma State, where he would go on to rank among the top receivers in the nation. He led the team last year with 67 receptions for 1,006 yards and eight touchdowns. Those numbers were slightly down from his 2006 totals of 67 receptions for 1,181 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Bowman became just the second receiver to post consecutive 1,000-yard seasons at OSU and finished fourth in team history with 127 receptions. Among the highlights of his career was a 300-yard receiving game in 2006 against the University of Kansas. Bowman has not tested well so far this offseason, and with a pending drug charge for possession of marijuana, he will likely fall in the draft despite his considerable talent.
Bowman has great size for a wide receiver. He was measured at 6-foot-2 7/8 and weighed in at 223 pounds at the combine in February, putting him in a similar weight class to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens or Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson. His long arms allow him to make tough catches over smaller defensive backs, which makes up for a lack of speed. He is also a smooth runner who does a good job at staying in his routes and working around what defenses will give him.
Despite not possessing blazing speed, Bowman is able to switch up it up enough to keep defenders off-balance. He also showed an ability to run with the ball, and his 18.2 yards-per-catch average over his four-year career is definitely an eye-opener. This hasn't translated over to his combine or Pro Day workouts, but it is something that will show up once he has the pads on and is on the field. It also speaks to his ability as a game-breaking receiver. His longest touchdown reception last year was for 77 yards, and he tallied 20 receptions of 20 yards or more.
With his size, Bowman is a solid cut blocker and is good at picking up opposing players in the open field. He played in a very physical offense at OSU in what was a physical conference in the Big 12. This will ensure he stays on the field in all types of situations.
Bowman was not great at picking out deep balls, especially when working in traffic. The reason for this was believed to have been 20/900 vision, which resulted in LASIK corrective surgery to fix the problem before the 2007 season. Prior to this he had worn contacts to improve the problem. However, a lack of concentration was still a problem for him last year. Of the 108 passes targeted to him, he missed 30 of them with 11 being deflected. He was also off at the Senior Bowl workouts as dropped passes were a big problem for him. For someone who has value as a short-to-mid range receiver, he needs to improve on this if he wants to succeed at the next level.
His lack of speed is a concern for NFL teams. At the Combine he ran only a 4.74 40-yard dash. Bowman blamed it on a lack of conditioning as he was recovering from another LASIK surgery underwent in January. However, he followed that up with a 4.75 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. He could have trouble separating at the next level as defensive backs will be able to play up on him. His running might be faster on game film, but his 40 times have knocked him out of the top-tier of receivers.
Character issues were a problem for Bowman at North Carolina. During his sophomore year, Bowman was caught in a room where marijuana was present. Due to a one-strike policy at Chapel Hill, Bowman was suspended indefinitely before being dismissed. He stayed clean during his stay at OSU, but NFL scouts continued to question him about this incident during his offseason interviews. Their caution turned out to be for good reason as Bowman was arrested on marijuana possession charges in early April. With the pressure the NFL puts on its players to be good role models, this will most certainly result in Bowman falling on draft day.
While injuries were not a problem throughout his career, Bowman suffered a knee sprain at the tail end of the 2007 season, causing him to miss the final two games of his collegiate career. Whether this will be an issue in the future is doubtful, but it is still something to keep an eye on.
Expected Draft Placement
Dropped passes, poor workout numbers and continuing questions about his character have hurt Bowman's draft stock, likely causing him fall to being an early fourth-round pick, at best. It is entirely possible he will drop into the fifth or sixth rounds.
A team such as the Chicago Bears could look at him as they need to replace another big, physical wide receiver in Muhsin Muhammad. He also fits the team's offensive philosophy as he is a solid blocker in the running game. Whoever does draft him will have some work to do to improve his concentration, as well as keep close tabs on his off-field activities, but they will get a fluid runner with all the physical tools to succeed at the next level.
About Bryce McRae
Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.
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