More Utah Sports

Eric Rowe a First-Rounder?

Is Eric Rowe a first round talent or not?

At the close of the 2014 NCAA football season, it seemed apparent that Nate Orchard was the Utes’ hottest NFL prospect.  His performances in pre-draft workouts and interviews certainly didn’t do anything to hurt his stock, yet he has been supplanted in the eyes of many draft experts. Now the hot name coming out of Utah is Eric Rowe.  Mel Kiper has him going in the end of the first round to the New England Patriots.  Other mock drafts (for what they are worth) have him anywhere from late-first to early-third.

The most obvious reason why is because of his stellar showing at the NFL combine.  Rowe was a top-10 performer in virtually every category.  That means he showed the speed, quickness, explosiveness, size, and strength that NFL teams are looking for.  Another boost is his versatility.  Having played both safety and corner in the Pac-12, he’s considered a multi-faceted talent.  A lot of things in life are about timing, and in Eric Rowe’s case, the timing of the 2015 draft might be the biggest boost to his draft position.  Safety is the weakest position in this draft, which means that every large, physical corner is also being evaluated as a safety.  Josh Shaw from USC will also likely be asked to make a position change, for example.  Rowe will go higher, because NFL teams have one more precious evaluation film to help in their assessment. FILM.

Film is that magical, damning, overly honest, thing that never goes away, for better or worse.  Coaches tell you all the time that film doesn’t lie.  For the most part, I agree.  Truth on film, like in every other case, is in the eye of the beholder.  The picture gets a little cloudy with Rowe, because he doesn’t have stellar playmaking evidence on film.  His highlight reel is relatively empty in comparison to that of Orchard, his Utah counterpart and the nation’s leader in Sacks Per Game.  Rowe’s film is characterized more by solid play and the elimination of catastrophic mistakes over the years.  That’s not to say he never gave up a touchdown or mis-played a ball.  Any Utah fan could probably easily bring up an example of such failures.  But that is the nature of being a sports fan.  And moreso, that is the nature of being a DB in a pass-heavy game.  Rowe is a good player, but is he a GREAT player?  Will any team be willing to use a first round pick on something less than great?  And if he isn’t, does his athleticism mean that he still can be made into one by some NFL coaching?

There are teams in the draft with needs at corner or safety. Good teams, teams with succesful track records.  More importantly for Rowe, there are teams in the draft with needs at corner AND safety.  He will be off the board earlier than first projected because he can be good at one or both, even if he’s not great at either.

* Rowe will join us for the Bill and OC show on Wednesday at 5:10


700's 7 Most Viewed

To Top