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.