The NFL Combine gets underway in Indianapolis in just 6 days. I will be there and in between now and then I’ll be doing a lot of work getting up to speed on the draft class of 2015. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.
What they’re saying:
STRENGTHS Tall cornerback with long frame. Has the ability to disrupt wide receivers off the line of scrimmage and can mirror them out of their release. Jams and disrupts shallow crossers. Will throw his body around in run support if needed. Solid tackler.
WEAKNESSES Linear body type with average play strength. Will struggle to carry NFL deep speed. Lacks an accelerator and is not a recovery-type cornerback. Limited as a man-cover corner. Has change-of-direction issues in tight spaces.
SOURCES TELL US "He's a long-strider with limited deep speed, so I see him as a Tampa-2 guy or maybe fitting with a defense similar to Seattle's where he has a good free safety helping over the top." -- AFC director of college scouting
How he fits the Redskins: The smaller, faster corners tend to come off the board on Thursday and Friday night during the draft. The taller guys, the ones who run the 4.6 forties, tend to stick around until Saturday afternoon. That is when Rowe’s name may come up in the Redskins’ draft room.
Rowe started at safety for his first three years with the Utes and then switched to cornerback as a senior to replace Keith McGill, a fourth-round pick of the Raiders. He is entering the draft looking to play corner but that will be up to the team that drafts him. The Redskins have a need at both positions so he could be on their draft board twice.
Scot McCloughan has hinted that he believes that a defensive backfield like the one the Seahawks have built, one he had a hand in building while in their personnel department earlier this decade, with bigger players. At 6-1, Rowe qualities there, although he may be asked to put on some weight.
An important factor for the Redskins will be special teams; they probably won’t take a late-round player who can’t be good at them. A few reports I’ve see check this box off for Rowe.
Potential issues: As noted, he doesn’t have great straight-line speed. Rowe is not going to get much faster so they key will be how well he deals with perhaps being a step slower than many of the receivers he will be covering. A lot of that comes down to using excellent technique and spending time in the film room so you know the other team’s tendencies. As with every player on the Redskins’ draft board, the scouting department’s interviews with his college coaches, teammates, and others who were with him at Utah will be important.
Bottom line: There will be a few taller corners on the board on Saturday, players like Rowe, Byron Jones of Connecticut, and Jacoby Glenn of Central Florida. They should be on the Redskins’ radar screens but we don’t know how McCloughan will grade them out. They aren’t going to take a bigger corner just for the sake of trying to get another Richard Sherman (who, at 6-3, is a bit taller than any of the late-round corners who are likely to be around on Saturday this year). But if they do take a corner he’ll probably be 6-1 or taller and Rowe could well get consideration.
Previously in Combine Countdown: