Despite being a third-round pick, Lynn Bowden Jr. is one of the most hyped players that Las Vegas Raiders fans want to see in action this season. After playing his final college year at quarterback, Bowden looks to be a running back for the Silver and Black.
Nonetheless, a position should not limit nor define Bowden. He says he should have been a first-round pick and will be out to prove it during his rookie season.
“The Most Fascinating Prospect of the 2020 NFL Draft”
Pro Football Network called Bowden the most fascinating prospect of the draft. He’s one of those electric players who is able to make plays no matter where a coach puts him. In 2019, he played option quarterback. Most called him a wide receiver during the NFL draft process. Jon Gruden and the Raiders are saying he is going to play running back. In reality, there are a few players who are better suited for the “offensive weapon” title such as the Denard Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He has a pretty similar build to Robinson too. Bowden is listed at 5’11” and 198 pounds. Robinson recorded in at 6’0” 197 pounds pre-draft. Both spent time as a quarterback but came in with scouts not sure if they would be a better fit at wide receiver or running back. However, Bowden went two full rounds ahead of Robinson in the draft, and for good reason.
Robinson played his entire college career at quarterback and didn’t really have experience at other positions. His best year in the league was his sophomore season, where he started the year as the team’s lead running back, gaining 582 yards on the ground and adding 124 receiving yards. Nevertheless, he wasn’t quite durable enough and fizzled out.
Electric in the Open Field
Bowden on the other hand, played quarterback in college but only to help his team. He played wide receiver in the NCAA and received praise for his physicality. He is quick, shifty, and great at making guys miss in the open field. One thing scouts see as a strength is his ability to make big plays out of manufactured touches. This figures to have Bowden getting a good amount of screen passes, and probably some end-arounds and jet sweeps.
His biggest weakness is his route running, which will not be much of an issue if he primarily plays running back. Many bemoan the fact his final college year, when he played quarterback, took valuable time away from him working on his route-running skills. What it did do was give him even more experience making plays from the line of scrimmage. He also had to read coverages and find holes in the defense. This will only help him as a running back. Additionally, his time as a receiver will give him more route-running experience that many running backs out there already.
NFL Comparisons and Projections
Bowden could finally be the joker the Raiders have been looking for. Most recently, Cordarrelle Patterson didn’t work out. Taiwan Jones tried to fill the role, and head coach Jon Gruden seemed to take some chances on players like Trevor Davis to add some explosiveness to the offense. None of them even come close to Bowden’s ceiling though. No one expects him to come in and compete for Josh Jacobs’ job. Bowden is never going to be a 1,000-yard rusher, or 1,000-yard receiver. Yet, he could total 1,000 all-purpose yards.
Bowden’s most common comparison was to Randall Cobb. Though he had some great years with the Green Bay Packers, it may not be the best comparison for Bowden’s projected role. A more accurate projection might be Tarik Cohen, who has been one of the top gadget players in the league during his three years in the NFL. He’s never had less than 600 yards from scrimmage and even made first-team All-Pro as a punt returner his sophomore season in the NFL. That same year, he also totaled over 1,100 scrimmage yards.
Bowden also wants to play special teams, so hopefully, he can add some return touchdowns to his stat sheet. Or at the very least, flip the field for the team. If Bowden can slide into a role similar to Cohen’s, the pick would be a success.
First-year projections: 650 scrimmage yards, three offensive touchdowns, and one special teams touchdown.
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