Since the Big Blue Nation was introduced to Lynn Bowden, we quickly learned he's one-of-a-kind. It served as a blessing for Mark Stoops but presents a conundrum for NFL Draft experts.
If luck is where preparation meets opportunity, then the Wildcats had the perfect recipe for unusual success in 2019. We all knew that Bowden played quarterback in high school. We did not know the extent of his capabilities until a rash of injuries forced him into the role. He successfully led the Wildcats to a 6-2 record as the starter, which included a jaw-dropping finale against Virginia Tech.
As he prepared for his next step, many marveled at his versatility.
“I like Lynn. He does a little bit of everything. He’s today’s NFL guy. He can play a little quarterback, play in the slot, play in the backfield. I will be surprised if we get to day three and he’s still on the board. I think he’s going to be late second, early third
,” ESPN's Todd McShay said
on his podcast.
On the other side of the coin, some believes Bowden is a jack of all trades and a master of none. Instead of projecting Bowden all the way up to the second, those who view him as a poor route-running receiver have him falling as far as the fifth round. The Athletic's Dane Brugler
puts him in the third-fourth round range as the draft class' 19th-ranked wide receiver.
"Similar in ways to Braxton Miller as a prospect, Bowden lacks nuance as a route runner and his development as a receiver was interrupted with his move to quarterback in 2019. He is clearly most comfortable with the ball in his hands and displays a natural sense of his surroundings to create. Overall, Bowden is an unpolished pass catcher and must improve the specifics of the position to reach his full potential, but he brings versatile and instinctive playmaking skills to the slot and return game."
Whether or not you believe the criticism is fair -- you may have forgotten his early-season case of the drops -- the lack of wide receiver tape from Bowden's final year in college is going to put him behind some other familiar names in the draft. The talent pool at the position in this year's draft class will both hurt and help Bowden.
The deepest position group in the 2020 NFL Draft is at wide receiver. Going into the draft, general managers and coaches are reassuring themselves that if they need a receiver, they can wait until the third or fourth rounds and still find a quality player, like Bowden. That's what they're saying now, but that can quickly change.
The over/under for wide receivers taken in the first round is at 5.5 and the juice is on the over. Once Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs or CeeDee Lamb's name is called, the race is on. NFL front offices are motivated by fear. They do not want to be the ones who got left behind with their tail tucked between their legs, so they will make rash decisions to ensure their guy does not go to another team.
In Lynn Bowden's case, there's a team out there -- he's talked with the Ravens, Patriots and 49ers -- that absolutely loves the tools he can bring to their franchise. If there's a run on wide receivers, an organization will pull the trigger and pick Bowden a round or two earlier than they expected for fear that they will miss out on a one-of-a-kind NFL prospect.
As you hear the names of wide receivers coming off the board tonight, each pick is putting Bowden one step closer to reaching his NFL dreams.