I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.
Find all the profiles here.
Eric Rowe, CB/S, Utah - 6'1, 205 - Senior - 4.45 40
When you are preparing each year for the draft, there are some prospects who you feel like you relate to better than others. In this year's crop, I love Eric Rowe's approach to football. I am not sure if it is all by his design, but when I look at NFL teams, I see that there are usually 10 guys on each roster who are so insanely talented and valuable than they can do whatever they want and the team is going to accommodate them. The others are there as long as they can be useful. Can you do things to help the team? Can you do many things to help the team? Are you so good at so many things that you quickly become indispensable?
Was this the difference this year between Joseph Randle and Ryan Williams on the Cowboys? One guy was a RB who could also do special teams and the other was a RB who was just a runner. Williams was the better runner, in my opinion, but Randle could help the team in many ways. Advantage: Randle.
So, now, here is Mr. Rowe. He is a cornerback. At least he was in 2014. He is also a safety from 2011 to 2013 and likely better at that. He is also on special teams and capable of covering punts and kicks. He can cover, hit, blitz, and set coverages. He is a jack of all trades, master of a few, and able to be that swiss army knife that will make him a very useful part of your roster. For his report, I looked at Stanford, Washington State, UCLA, and Michigan.
Rowe wears #18 for the Utes.
What I liked: Aside from his versatility, it is clear that Rowe is a the type of defensive back that I really like to have on my team because he wants to hit and set a physical tone. He wants to get in the backfield and cause havoc, and with his skills that include size, speed, and leaping, he is a formidable piece wherever you wish to use him. I consider him more of a zone corner who is best with a cushion and then closing while peeking at the QB, but when he presses, he has some talents that shine through. He can hit and racked up 250+ tackles during his time with the Utes. I believe I prefer him as a safety with his size, but the Cowboys might actually like his corner skills, but isn't the ability to have a guy who can do both only add to his intrigue? He is confident and has the swagger about him that does not seem to be too swayed with the occasional poor play. He battles for the ball in the air and is generally competent and versatile.
What I did not like: He gets caught guessing sometimes, whether in man - where he cannot find the ball in the air, or in zone - where he gets caught peeking too much in the backfield and loses his angle on his man. This is why I think he might fit best as a free safety, but I am fine with that as I think the Cowboys always need a better safety. As for other potential negatives, he might not be ideal up against the really quick and small receivers, and on occasion, he passes on a collision, but I think he played banged up in 2014 and was nursing an injury.
Summary: Rowe is a player who it is difficult to determine how NFL teams fully see him, so I must trust my eyes and make an educated guess. For me, he is ideally a safety, but the flex he gives you with solid corner skills make him very attractive. I might consider him the best free safety in this draft and a very competitive corner. Combined, it isn't crazy to assume he is a 1st round pick with his combination of being over 6 feet and having a 4.45 40 with hitting and tackling skills. He is truly a guy who gets making himself valuable to his coach and available in many situations which is the kind of thing that fans won't mention, but coaches will tell you is so valuable come game-day. If Dallas wanted to go in this direction, I would not have a major issue with it at all.
And, if you don't mind, please check out the Bob and Dan (BaD) Radio show in Dallas-Fort Worth, from 12p-3p, Monday-Friday, on Sportsradio 1310 and 96.7fm, The Ticket. www.theticket.com