NFL Draft: Raiders Should Eye WR Lynn Bowden Jr.

The Las Vegas Raiders need weapons at wide receiver, could Lynn Bowden Jr. be the one of them?

Bowden Jr. is one of the most intriguing players who will be drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft thanks to his versatile offensive skill set. He started his career at wide receiver for the Kentucky Wildcats before playing quarterback the back half of 2019, his junior season.

General Statistics

Bowden stands 5’11” and weighs 204 pounds. In 2019, he helped Kentucky in a wide variety of ways on offense. Despite beginning the year at wide receiver, he led the SEC in rushing with 1,468 yards with 13 touchdowns as the cherry on top. He also caught 30 passes for 348 yards and threw for 403 yards with a 47% completion percentage. His sophomore year, when he was just a wide receiver, he hauled in 67 passes for 745 yards.

Quick Notes For The Raiders

  • Bowden has experience returning kicks and punts at Kentucky.
  • As a wide receiver, he operates primarily out of the slot.
  • Has enough blocking ability for an NFL wide-out.
  • He isn’t a precision route runner
  • He makes his money on short routes and YAC.
  • He doesn’t have enough throwing ability for anything but trick plays.
  • At his best running, he can play read-option.
  • He has some similarities to Lamar Jackson in running-style but less shifty and explosive.
  • He must play special teams and return kicks in NFL, he is not good enough to be only a wide receiver.

Related: Raiders GM Mike Mayock ready to seize the draft again

Player Comparison

Bowden doesn’t fit any single player comparison to an NFL player. As a wide receiver, Tavon Austin is close, but despite his blazing speed, Austin currently averages less than 10 yards per reception. Both players aren’t accomplished route runners and catch primarily short passes. Bowden can be used on jet sweeps and gimmick screens just like Austin.

As a read-option quarterback, think of a less shifty Lamar Jackson that absolutely isn’t a threat to throw. He runs well enough to do it in the NFL but he’s not going to be able to do it as consistently as Jackson because he isn’t as explosive and can’t throw the ball unless it’s a wringle-type play and it’s a throw you’d expect many players to be able to make.

Fit with Raiders

Bowden could fill the Dwayne Harris-type roll, returning kicks and catching screen passes on offense. He also should be able to help the Raiders in short yardage and goal line situations as a read-option quarterback. He won’t be a mainstay on offense unless head coach Jon Gruden is able to get creative with him. The Raiders don’t have a need for slot wide receiver unless they intend to start going with more 4WR sets.

Overall, Bowden has the ability to be a real playmaker in the NFL. However, it is going to take a real creative offensive mind to get the most out of him on offense because he isn’t a polished wide receiver. Bowden is more of a gimmick type of player that Gruden hasn’t shown he’ll be able to maximize. Las Vegas would be better off investing elsewhere unless he falls a bit into the later rounds. Currently, he should go somewhere between the fourth and fifth round.

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