2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Houston OLB Tyus Bowser


We’re back again breaking down prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, set to kick off on April 27th through the 29th. Our goal this season is to write reports on at least 150 players and hopefully, as many as 200. It will, of course, have a focus on Pittsburgh Steelers’ wants and needs but we will look big-picture too at the best players in this year’s draft.

If there’s a player you would like us to breakdown, let us know in the comments below.

#5 Tyus Bowser/OLB – 6’2/4 244

The Good

– Great body type, physically ripped, and has great length for his weight (33 inch arms)
– Uses frame to keep space between him and the blocker, able to disengage easier because of it
– Versatile skillset, high level of experience dropping into coverage, and routinely played with his hand up
– Does well in zone coverage, asked to spot drop mostly, but experience walling and rerouting receivers and competent doing so
– Fluid turn dropping, no stiffness and gets to his spot in a hurry
– Has go-to pass rush move (dip/rip)
– High-motor player, chases the ball, doesn’t loaf


The Bad

– Question if he’s a good enough athlete to consistently win the edge with speed
– Asked to one-gap a lot against the run, run defense/POA grade a bit incomplete
– Seems to lack counter move, will have to fill out repertoire
– Didn’t get a lot of two-way gos as a pass rusher, dropped and moved around so often, limited pass rush chances
– Technique when converting speed to power needs work, planting off wrong foot and isn’t getting push he should
– Statistically never had gaudy production

Bio

– 48 career games, 23 career starts
– 2016: 12.5 TFL, 8 sacks (eight games)
– Career: 27.5 TFL, 21.5 sacks
– Missed five games as senior after fracturing orbital bone in right eye
– Played power forward for Houston’s basketball time up until sophomore season

Tape Breakdown

Bowser is a curious case. Difficult to get a read on because he was used like an actual NFL linebacker. I don’t see him as the top-level athlete as Bud Dupree but they’re used very similarly in college. Bowser probably dropped into coverage more than anyone else in this year’s class.

Watch him here as the LOLB drop in man coverage to cover the back on this wheel route, not getting caught up in the rub of this slant. Looks very fluid.

He has an above average punch and uses his length to win the POA against the run. Watch him snap the tight end’s head back here.

As you can tell on this play, and many others, he’s maintaining just one gap. Didn’t have to hold the edge a lot in Houston though when he did, he was successful.

He does need to work on his technique as a pass rusher and I’ll admit that i don’t think I could call him a “natural pass rusher.” He’s not quite on that level. But with some technique and refinement, he can still be a successful one. On this speed bull rush, he’s planting off his inside foot and initiating contact instead of doing so off his outside foot. Saps him of his power and the right tackle easily handles him.

Here’s a stillshot of him planting off the wrong foot.

We know this is wrong because James Harrison told us so in the often-referenced tutorial he gave on one of his two pass rushing moves, the speed bull.

What I said a moment before, him not being a “natural” pass rusher, is off-putting. That’s what the Steelers need to look for. But it should be noted that Bowser had a lot on his plate and didn’t get to just go forward and be a “true” pass rusher, either. Again, similar to Dupree, and the stats are sorta similar to. Dupree with 39.5 TFL, 25.5 sacks, Bowser 27.5/21.5.

The scouting community, those more plugged in than I, seem to be expect him to go higher than many think. If the Steelers want him, it may cost their 62nd pick.

Projection: Mid-Day 2

Games Watched: vs Memphis, vs Vanderbilt, Senior Bowl

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNate PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin Kamara

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Spencer Krick

    Seems like an intriguing double-dip option, maybe if he falls into the 4th?

  • Alex Kozora

    Maybe but those plugged in think he won’t get out of Day 2.

  • falconsaftey43

    Seem to be a lot of pass rushers with 1-2 rnd grades. Looking back through the years, doesn’t seem like more than 10 will go in those 2 rounds.

    I’ve seen Garrett, Barnett, Lawson, Charlton, Anderson, Williams, Mathis, McKinley, Rivers, Reddick, Harris, Walker, Basham, Smoot, Watt, Bowser, Phillips all graded in the first 2 rounds.

  • Spencer Krick

    Man, I don’t see it. But hey, they probably know something I don’t, I’m just an armchair amateur scout 😛

  • Alex Kozora

    It’s definitely a deep class. You can make a case for pretty much all those guys. They’ll all probably go within the first two days.

  • PapaJuju

    Yeah, hard to judge with pass rushers. Look at Trey Flowers. That’s a 4th round pick that was tearing up the Super Bowl.

  • Spencer Krick

    Very true

  • steelburg

    I like this guy as a 2nd OLB pick I’m hoping he falls to the 4th round since the OLB class is so deep. But I really dont expect him to fall that far. He is definitely on the rise and I think he will go in the 3rd round. I think your a bit mistaken to think this guy isn’t as good a athlete as Dupree is. Dupree is a size speed freak so he won’t compare in the size regard but I think he will prove to be every bit of the athlete Dupree is at the Combine.

  • PaeperCup

    I’m sure you have one coming, but waiting on the SMOOT draft profile.

  • LucasY59

    I was thinking the same thing, with as many guys they have ranked as day two pas rushers one will have to fall to the 4th

  • LucasY59

    I agree (on making him the 2nd OLB taken (in the 4th rd) and the athletic part) the Dupree comparison of him dropping in coverage kinda proves it, if he wasnt a good enough athlete in coverage, they wouldnt drop him so much

  • LucasY59

    nice to see the list/links to the other profiles, Thank you

  • Alex Kozora

    Haha, soon!

  • PaeperCup

    Nice, thanks for all the hard work you guys put in. Appreciate it.

  • steelburg

    I agree. It will definitely clear up a ton at the position.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    There’s no way 15+ edge rushers go within the first two rounds. Even with deep classes, teams still have to stick to their agenda of what they need. If 16 went within the first two rounds, that means half the teams in the league drafted one with their first two picks. Unheard of.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    McKinley, Smoot, and Watt are my faves

  • PaeperCup

    Not as big on McKinley, but well worth a first round pick still. LOVE smoot. For a big guy he’s can move, and Alex reported that he’s got good bend too which is awesome.

    Gotta love Watt. Injury concerns, not physically dominating, but his effort is a huge selling point for him. If hard work runs in his blood, he can only get better.

    I wouldn’t mind double dipping to get any 2 of those 3.

  • PaeperCup

    that’s what I was thinking. 25% of teams taking an edge rusher in the first 2 rounds…. I guess it’s plausible, but there are 20 other positions teams need to fill. Some of these guys will fall, and pose great value. Too bad we pick towards the end of the rounds.

  • Dshoff

    A LOT of edge rushing guys this year. This seems like the year to double dip on OLB. I really hope that we don’t wait on an OLB just because there are so many. Pick the best one on the board! And pick a guy that already has some technique. I’m not very confident in our coaching staff to teach this stuff.

  • Hey Alex, curious about your thoughts on this:

    I’m starting to think the only reason so many pass rushers are projected to go in the first two rounds is because pass rushing is at such a premium in the NFL now and every team needs them. Not so much that these guys are that talented, it seems like more of a supply and demand type of thing. Kind of like QBs who always go in the first two rounds who have no business going that early, but teams are willing to gamble because they feel the need to.

    I’ve been hearing how deep this years class is, but so far, it seems like the class two years ago, with Dupree, Fowler, Beasely etc.. was a better group of prospects. I could be wrong I still need to watch more film. Good breakdown though, much appreciated.

  • thomas hmmmm

    IMO the group two years ago was better but then again I haven’t heard anyone saying this one is better.
    The only thing being said is it’s deep which means a lot of talented guys. Maybe not top tier instant impact guys like a few drafts ago but more just a lot of good guys.
    Remember some pretty good pass rushers were picked in the rounds after the 1st in that draft a few years ago

  • Applebite

    The 2015 was better on the top end. I think this one is more balanced throughout, with more players to choose from, to where you don’t have to feel rushed in choosing a player, if that makes sense.

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  • Alleghenys

    Watching those game videos, Bowser seems comfortable dropping into TE coverage, but less comfortable rushing the passer or taking on a runner. He seems to lack the aggressiveness needed to be a front-line attacker. Obviously, that’s a novice opinion based on two game tapes. Maybe he’s raw enough that there is significant room for growth.

  • Zarbor

    Not just you. I don’t see it either. These clips don’t help his case either.

  • Austin Willie

    I wonder if we could get riddick and bowser in the same draft we could be a lot better next year but I like joe joe Mathis more then I like him

  • MC

    Would be great if he fell to us in the 4th. The first Edge guy they take must be a natural pass rusher however.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I LOVE this kid. And though I’ve been touting him for a month now, I had to come over to this profile page and put it on record, lol. (I honestly thought I already had) His ability to drop yet rush, makes him so extremely valuable to a zone team like us, but really, it should for just about everyone. Very athletic guy due to the basketball background. Great size, speed, and tackler. And he could use just a bit more strength, which luckily for Steeler Nation, that is exactly what we excel at doing with guys like Deebo around. Come to our weight room and get to work.

    Smart kid. Very fluid. Can play both run, pass, and rush. I’ve been telling everyone that this is my number 1 choice for a double-dip at LB, if we take a more natural pass rusher with the first pick at 30. But after his terrific combine, I’m not sure this guy will be there at 62 in order to allow for the double dip. I really hope this guy keeps sneaking under the radar, but word on the street is – the friggin’ Hoodie up there in NE already has his eye on this guy. Of course he does. Picking right behind us at 32 if we end up passing on him at 30.

    And that is the point, I think he seriously needs to be in the deep conversation for guys at 30 for us. I’d hate to pass on this guy and then have him turn All-Pro against us. Love the name… Bowser! Makes me think of Super Mario. And he could be our evil villain against the rest of the league. His draft stock was a guy who most expected in the 3rd or possibly even the 4th round over a month ago. Then I was hearing maybe 2nd round. And now, he has pushed it into the 2nd round and MAYBE even into the 1st. Again, point is, he’s a fast riser. And that is why I feel like he is really just scratching the surface of his potential. He has gotten better ever year that he has played. I see no reason why that should be any different in this upcoming year, now playing in the NFL.

    I will be very happy if this guy ends up a Pittsburgh Steeler.