In Thursday's first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the player whose draft stock fell the furthest was Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers. He has been projected as high as going number one overall. However, concerns about his knee being able to hold up for more than a couple of years has caused his stock to plummet. He was not drafted in he first round at all.
Mel Kiper, even now, has him rated as the sixth best prospect in the entire draft, calling him "perhaps the draft's most gifted pass-rusher."
The Arizona Cardinals have a draft choice near the top of the second round. They have a great need for a pass rusher. If Bowers is still available, he should be the guy the Cardinals pick.
First of all, the kid is flat out talented. He had 15.5 sacks last season. There may not be a better player at getting to the quarterback and that is exactly what the Cardinals need. With a threat of a pass rush, the potentially deadly secondary the Cards have could turn the defensive squad into juggernauts.
Are there knee concerns? Yes, but not for playing this year. The knee is set. He will be able to play in 2011. The question is more of the question the Phoenix Suns had with Amare Stoudemire and why they were unwilling to sign him to a five-year deal after he had already played a couple of seasons on knees that will likely need another surgery.
The question with Bowers is how long he will be able to play in the NFL. This is why he was not taken in the first round. First round players get a lot of money. Having seen players like Andre Wadsworth perform far less than their potential because of injuries is hard and can be very bad for a franchise. You don't want to pay a guy tens of millions of dollars to not play.
This is where there is the beauty of it all. Now that he is out of the first round, the risk is far less. If you can get three to four very good years out of a second round pick, you have done your job. That is about as long as anyone can expect to play football at a high level, anyway.
So, I don't care about the injury concerns long-term. The fact is that his knee is sound and it is healthy. They won't have to pay him big-time money and he's the best at what he does.
If he is still there at number 38, in my mind, there is no question what the Cardinals should do with that pick. They should make Bowers a Redbird to terrorize Sam Bradford and whatever other QBs there happen to be in the NFC West in 2011.