What can a player do? What was a player asked to do? These questions ran through my head constantly while watching Houston EDGE/LB Tyus Bowser. He played in 43 games throughout his college career and had 22.5 sacks. If you were to assign a production score, strictly based on said output, it would be low compared to others in this extremely deep edge class. Why?
For one, yes, Bowser played on the edge a lot, but not in a traditional pass rushing role. He often played contain against option teams. He was frequently asked to cover running backs on flares. He dropped from a 5 tech to a flat or hook zone defending. He was used as a strong side and weak side linebacker. He was used as an overhang defender, splitting the difference between the slot wide receiver and tight end. At times he lined up directly over big slots and proved capable of staying in a hip pocket down the field.
When you take into consideration all of the hats that Bowser wears, his production is eye-popping. Observe the hype that Temple’s Haason Reddick is receiving for his versatility and ask yourself, is Bowser THAT much different?
Name: Tyus Bowser
Comparison: Jamie Collins (New England Patriots)
Draft Grade: Mid 2nd Round
Combine: 40 Time – 4.65, Bench Reps – 21, Vertical – 37.5″, Broad – 127″, 3 Cone – 6.75
Positives: Versatile. Played as a defensive end, linebacker, and overhang defender. Corners well with bend and speed through contact. When used inside shows quick penetration and hand quickness. Fluid movements dropping into coverage, smooth backpedal. Picks up running backs, is sticky covering tight ends on vertical routes, and squeezes windows in zone. Makes plays with the ball in the air. Recognizes late crosses from opposite side. Mirrors rolling quarterbacks in zone and decisively fires his gun with very good closing speed. Adept at recognizing screens. Stacks blocker vs. bubbles as overhang and makes plays. Better in space at avoiding blocks where he can utilize length and quickness. Hands active and ready. Extremely productive despite being frequently asked to drop into coverage and missing 7 games.
Negatives: Gets washed out and sealed at LOS by tight ends and tackles in run game. Lacks counters. Needs to keep chest clean more often. Will take himself out of plays in the run game trying to outrun blocks. Struggles to keep legs clean on cut blocks. Late to recognize H-backs slipping to flats across formation. High pad level when tackling. Can struggle vs. lateral moves in space despite excellent 3 cone testing. Will often get stuck to blocks. In coverage struggles to turn 180 degrees and will allow completions across his face. Fight with teammate in practice caused him to miss 7 games in his Senior season.
Outlook: Bowser has a full toolbox that many teams will covet and fits best as a 4-3 SAM. This will allow him to stay clean and use his athleticism to track and close on runs while also providing coverage ability vs. tight ends and running backs. Should be moved around in blitz packages to utilize his inside rushing upside, outside speed rush, or as a dropping green dog to cover running backs or cover hook zones. Bowser quietly blew up the Combine and should receive early Day 2 consideration with the return on investment upside to contribute as a starter immediately.