Bowers steps into the spotlight

CLEMSON - Da'Quan Bowers remembers the exact moment that his NFL Draft stock took a hit.

During Clemson's 14-13 win over N.C. State on Nov. 6, Bowers suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee on his second sack of Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson.

"I'm not sure what happened," Bowers said after Friday's highly anticipated Pro Day in Death Valley. "I was going through the right tackle, getting up and feeling it. If you watch the tape very close, you can see me limp when I get up. I felt it right there."

Even if it was apparent to him that he wasn't the same payer over the last four games of the season, Bowers played through injury.

And no one really seemed to notice.

"I fought through it, but my get off wasn't as fast as it was in the first part of the season. I couldn't run for long periods of time and chase things down as I did my first part of the season," he said. "There were a number of things that I could tell weren't up to par. Like coach [Dabo] Swinney says, ‘You only know when you're giving your all.'"

Over the final month and a half of the season, Bowers was limited in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. By Friday, usually, he was feeling healthy enough to run and cut.

ON the Tuesday after the bowl game in Charlotte, Bowers underwent surgery. He was flying to Los Angeles days later for rehab and training. While in California, he spoke with world renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who provided some reassuring words.

"[Andrews] said he's seen a million and ten of these. Those were his exact words. And it's never long term," Bowers said.

Because he was recovering from the injury, he did not participate in on-field drills at the combine in March.

Bowers wanted to get one point across on Friday--the knee is healthy.

He was measured at 6-foot-3, 273 pounds and ran a "low 4.8" 40. His best broad jump was a measured at 9-4. According to the National Football Post, he posted a 4.34 to 4.4 in the short shuttle and a 6.95 in the three-cone drill.

"My 40 time wasn't the best, but other than that, all my drills were great," Bowers said. "My short cone, my short shuttle, my position stuff went really well. I got a little winded, due to the fact that I wasn't able to condition like I should have, because I was a month behind everyone else…other than that, I had a great day."

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was one of several NFL representatives in town for the workout.

"I'm sure anytime you're dealing with an injury, there's a healing process," he said. "I thought he showed well [on Friday]."

Several teams sent personnel, including: San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings.

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and Bills general manager Buddy Nix watched the workout.

"He's got all teams, 3-4 and 4-3, everybody's interested in him," Dimitroff said.

Bowers will make several visits over the next couple of weeks. He'll start by heading to Denver on Monday, which will be followed by a Wednesday trip to Buffalo and a Friday trip to Indianapolis. He'll be home for the weekend, make a trip to Carolina, and then visit Washington.

Draft day plans have not been set. He's mulling a trip to New York City against staying home in Bamberg. Originally, Bowers said that he would prefer to stay home.

"It's bigger than myself. It's bigger than me or my family. It's big for my whole community, my whole town of Bamberg, the whole county," he said.

As for how much he helped his stock, Bowers is confident that he did well.

"My last game I played here, I lost," he said. "My last workout here, I think I won."


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