According to Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was recently spotted taking a pre-draft visit with the New England Patriots. After a breakout junior campaign in which he posted 15.5 sacks, Bowers was pegged by many as a sure-fire top five overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Recently, however, Bowers draft stock has begun to fall to to a bevy of knee issues that have some teams thinking he could need microfracture surgery. Whether or not this is the truth remains to be seen, and the Patriots are likely conducting a visit with Bowers to due their due diligence both on the injury front, and to decide what they would do if Bowers somehow fell to them at pick 17.
So what could Bowers bring to the table for the Patriots? For one, he is one heck of a pass rusher. He is explosive, has a great first step, and can overpower most offensive tackles. He is very stout against the run, and would have no problem setting the edge as a left outside linebacker. Of course, there are questions about Bowers. How well will he fit as a linebacker in a 3-4 defense? Can he overcome the knee issues? Is he a one year wonder? Nonetheless, there is no denying that Bowers is a terrific talent that could certainly add some explosiveness to the Patriots pass rush. In my opinion, I would be shocked if Bowers fell to the Patriots' pick, but with what we have seen in past drafts, you just never know.