INDIANAPOLIS — The Panthers might be without a talent like Julius Peppers for only one season, if they decide Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers is their guy with the No. 1 overall pick in this April’s draft.
When Bowers was asked Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine who he’s most often compared to, he cited Peppers, the sackmeister who left Carolina after the 2009 season for Chicago.
Others have gone so far as to mention Hall of Famers Reggie White and Bruce Smith in the same breath as Bowers — heady stuff for a young man who left Clemson after his junior season.
“Just to be noticed in the same sentence with those guys is amazing,” Bowers said. “Anytime anybody can put you in the same sentence with Reggie White and Bruce Smith, you must be doing something right.”
Bowers linked his explosive 2010 season to a maturation process and refuted criticism that he’s a “one-hit wonder” after wreaking havoc on opposing offenses with 15.5 sacks. He had just four total sacks in his two previous seasons.
Bowers isn’t testing at the combine this week because of a meniscus tear in his right knee suffered in an October game against N.C. State.
“I want the same amount of time that everybody else had to train and fully prepare for the combine,” Bowers said, telling reporters he’s ready to put on a show at Clemson’s March 10 pro day.
A show that could lead to big things for this confident young defender.
– Marc Sessler