Defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, rated as one of the top prospects in the NFL Draft, struggled Friday with his speed and agility during his first public workout since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, the Sporting News reported.
The former Clemson University star, working out for about 50 NFL talent evaluators, was hoping to put to rest any concerns about his knee after he was forced to miss the NFL Scouting Combine in February. Bowers underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus shortly after Clemson’s bowl loss to South Florida on Dec. 31.
Along with dozens of NFL scouts, those in attendance reportedly included Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, Bills GM Buddy Nix, and Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff.
"It’s satisfying but there’s a little sour taste," Bowers said after running his 40-yard dash in the 4.8-4.9 second range. "I could have done better on a lot of stuff. I knew my burst would be a question. They (the scouts) just wanted to see me push through."
Some scouts timed his 40-yard dash at above five seconds, according to the Enquirer-Herald of York, S.C.
Dimitroff said he still believes Bowers will be a "legitimate impact player" for whichever team drafts him, acknowledging that he is still recovering from the knee surgery.
"Everybody’s aware of the process," the Falcons GM told the paper. "He should be ready to impact a team early."
Last week, Bowers’ agent, Joe Flanagan sought to dispel the notion that his client’s knee was causing teams at the top of the draft to look elsewhere.
"Bottom line: Da’Quan’s knee has progressed ahead of schedule, in every regard, since the day he walked out of his procedure. There have been no ‘setbacks’ or ‘new concerns,’ and Da’Quan is very much looking forward to his workout on April 1."
Bowers, at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds (125 kg), was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season and also won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded to college football’s best defensive player. He led the nation in sacks with 15.5 and was second in tackles for loss with 24.5.