Bucs select Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers in the second round, 51st overall
The Bucs completed their set of bookend defensive ends Friday, drafting Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers with their second-round pick, 51st overall.
On Thursday, the Bucs drafted Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn in the first round of the NFL draft, 20th overall. Bowers led the nation with 15.5 sacks and tied for the most tackles for loss with 26.
Bowers was considered the most pure pass rusher in the draft, but his stock fell because of a torn meniscus in his right knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery in January. General Mark Dominik said that without the knee injury, Bowers was 'obviously a top 10 talent. No debate.'
"Last night, before I left the facility, which was late, in my mind, and I said to a few people in the organization, if Da'Quan is there at 51 we're going to take him,'' Dominik said. "And I stuck to that today.''
Several NFL teams reportedly took Bowers off their draft board after his medical evaluation. It's been speculated that he could be a one-contract player.
But the Bucs obviously believed Bowers was a great value late in the second round and wanted to upgrade their pass rush. The Bucs finished tied for 30th in the NFL with only 26 sacks.
"Obviously, we did a lot of research,'' Dominik said. "Every club in the National Football League has put a lot of time into this selection, into this type of pick. For me, the value for this pick was too strong. I feel like we're in a spot on the defensive line and really as an organization where we're building this thing. I felt like it was worth this selection.''
Dominik said Bowers will play left defensive end. The plan is to give Bowers time to let his knee completely heal but he is confident the Clemson star will play in 2010.
"Obviously, that's the mindset,'' Dominik said. "I won't put a time date or a template on when that's date going to be. We're going to do what's in his best interest. But at the same point, we feel he's going to be on the football field this year, absolutely.''
A year ago, the Bucs used their first and second round picks on defensive tackles -- Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy and UCLA's Brian Price.
McCoy went nine games without a sack and finished with three despite missing the final month of the season with a torn left biceps. Price was limited with a stress fracture near his pelvis and was placed on Injured Reserve. Both players are expected to make a full recovery.
"I'm clearly a defensive line collector,'' Dominik said. "That's the one thing you guys can start saying. I believe it all starts up front. I think that's very important.''