Here is a scouting report and insider analysis on McGowan:
Name: Brandon McGowan Pos: S
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 207 Draft Class: UDFA 2005 (Bears)
Positives: McGowan is a tough in-the-box defender, not afraid to come up and lay the wood in the running game. He went from undrafted free agent to NFL starter in a relatively short period of time, although some attrition on the depth chart above him had something to do with that. He's also a solid tackler on the coverage units, so he can contribute right away on special teams.
Negatives: McGowan has never been able to stay on the field for any significant period of time, spending just as much time on injured reserve as the active roster. Only once in his pro career has he suited up for more than eight games in any one season. He's also limited to the strong safety position, as he simply doesn't have the speed or instincts to be effective in coverage.
Overall: McGowan is worthy of being a Patriot as both a reserve safety and special-teams performer, but his limited range away from the line of scrimmage and lengthy injury history prohibits any team from counting on him long term.
How McGowan Fits: (from a Patriots Perspective)
McGowan is a decent sized defender who has to remain healthy to have a chance to make the final roster. The Patriots are set at safety with James Sanders, Brandon Meriweather and 2009 Draft pick Patrick Chung. Though it might take a year (or two) for Chung to get up to speed, there is little doubt he'll be pushing Sanders for playing time in the near future.
McGowan will have to make his mark on special teams and in coverage situations requiring an extra pass defender over a linebacker, namely nickel or dime situations. He has to show that his contributions are as valuable as Tank Williams, Antwain Spann and/or Ray Ventrone.
Considering McGowan signed a two-year $1.53 million deal, the Patriots must be comfortable in his chances to make the final roster. A $250,000 signing bonus indicates he'll be given a long look at the position.
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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read more of his articles, visit BearReport.com