Buffalo’s coaching staff spent some additional time with two of the more notable defensive ends in the 2011 draft class on Tuesday in Cameron Jordan and Robert Quinn. Two more were added to the Bills’ list of pre-draft visits Wednesday as Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers and Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt were visiting at One Bills Drive.
As was the case with North Carolina pass rushing prospect Robert Quinn, Buffalo’s coaching staff met with Bowers shortly after Bills GM Buddy Nix and members of his scouting staff took in his pro day on campus.
In fact Nix and his scouts attended Bowers’ personal pro day last Friday, one day after watching Quinn perform in Chapel Hill. Buffalo’s general manager almost anticipated that Bowers might not be all the way back from December knee surgery for a torn lateral meniscus suffered last October.
That’s why Nix wasn’t going to make a rash decision on Bowers if he did not show top form in his workout, which proved to be the case.
“I’m not sure that you would write him off if he’s not completely healthy,” he said. “But Friday was time for him to show he was either healthy or needed more work or more time.”
Bowers himself described his workout last week as “decent” as he ran in the mid-4.8s to low 4.9s for 40 times. Most on hand concurred that Bowers is not all the way back.
That’s likely part of the reason why the Bills brought him in for a visit to re-examine the surgically repaired knee so they have the most up to date information on his condition prior to the draft. Putting Bowers through a private workout at a team facility however, is against league rules. That would have to take place in the prospect’s hometown or in the metropolitan area of the player’s college campus.
“I think I can bring a lot of good things to a team,” said Bowers. “You can get a pass rushing defensive end, a humble guy, a guy with great character. A guy who is going to work hard, a guy that is going to go about things the right way and a guy who is willing to compete with anyone anywhere.”
Bowers had 15.5 sacks last season and was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He had a visit earlier in the week with Denver and reportedly has a Friday visit with Indianapolis. Carolina and Washington are also reportedly teams on his list for pre-draft visits.
Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt, much like Cal’s Cameron Jordan has a body type fitting of a 3-4 defensive end. Watt however, showed he can be much more than a grinder on the edge after a top notch combine workout. At 6’5 ½” and 290 pounds, Watt ran a 4.81 40 time, had a 37-inch vertical, a 10-foot broad jump and 34 reps on the bench.
In addition to leading the Badgers in sacks (7), tackles for loss (24), quarterback hurries (10), forced fumbles (3) and blocked kicks (3), he was an impressive second in pass breakups as he effectively batted down passes at the line. Most attribute his well-rounded game to his non-stop motor.
“I think I’m tenacious and relentless defender,” he said. “I’m never going to stop. I’m always going to be 110 mph on the field because I feel that’s what the game deserves. I don’t want to disrespect the game by taking a play off. That’s just not how I play the game.”
Watt’s intangibles are off the charts as he was the recipient of the Lott Impact trophy, which goes to the nation’s top defensive player in which character is measured equally with performance.
Both he and Bowers have been widely projected to be off the board by the middle of round one.