When the Patriots are establishing a checklist for their off-season personnel needs, help in the secondary has to be near the top, if not THE top item.
Replacement for Randall Gay?
Replacement for Eugene Wilson?
Replacement for Asante Samuel
um not yet.
Finding the starting corner of the future is what's at the top of the Patriots priority list for the NFL Draft. Or, at least it should be.
Despite signing three street free agents (Lewis Sanders, Jason Webster and Fernando Bryant), the Patriots continue to show interest in cornerbacks ranked from the top to the bottom of the upcoming Draft.
The latest addition to the expansive list of defensive backs the Patriots have an interest in, includes, Zach Bowman. Bowman met with the Patriots before his pro day on March 12th. The 6-foot-1.5, 200-pound defender felt it went well.
"I was able to get a chance to talk to them and get to know them as they got to know me, and we watched a ton of film," bowman told NFLPlayers.com in his Draft Diary. "It went well and I thank them for taking the time to come out and watch film with me."
The next day, Bowman reportedly ran in the low 4.3's to 4.4 for his 40 -- an impressive time for defensive backs, especially one who rehabbed multiple knee injuries. His 4.38 from the Combine placed him within the top 10 defensive backs who were invited to Indianapolis.
Although he suffered a sever knee injury (ACL) in 2006, Bowman regained some of the speed he was noted for. After transferring from New Mexico Military Institute, the Alaska native managed 54 tackles (44 solo), three interceptions and 16 passes defended in his 21 games for the Cornhuskers.
|Zack Bowman is shown the first day of spring training, in Lincoln, Neb. March 21, 2007 .(AP Photo/Dave Weaver)|
Scout.com has Bowman ranked among the top 30 corners in the Draft with NFLDraftscout ranking him 30th out of 240 corners in the nation.
Although Bowman returned from a second injury (ruptured patella) in 2007, it appeared to former NFL Scout Tom Marino that he may have hurried back too soon for his final season.
Bowman is a potential sleeper pick, according to Marino. In his scouting report Marino wrote "Athletic corner with size, speed and match up potential on the outside." Marino also warned of the knee injury which may have affected Bowman's play. "Has not recovered from a knee reconstruction sustained during in 2006. Came back too fast and did not play with confidence."
Marino feels that Bowman might be worth picking up late in the Draft as a potential late round pick which could pay dividends down the road. Bowman feels all he needs is a chance to prove he has what it takes to succeed. He's continuing to workout in preparation for April when he hopes to hear his name called.
If the level of interest at his pro day is any indication, Bowman should get a call from someone. "I remember seeing coaches and scouts from the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams," said Bowman of the teams present to watch him and his fellow Huskers work out at their pro day.
Bowman believes that the preparing for the Draft isn't easy, but it's worthwhile.
"This whole process of preparing for the Combine, my Pro Day and now the draft has been tough," said Bowman in his draft diary. "But I feel like Ive gotten a lot better because of it. Ive learned a lot and its really helped me out."