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Bowers shows off surgically repaired knee at Clemson pro day

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers believes he made his point to NFL teams Friday: His right knee is fine.

"I'm 100 percent," Bowers said after holding his pro day at Clemson's Memorial Stadium. "I still have a lot of work to do. Still strengthening and getting it back to where it needs to be. But it's not hurting. It's not giving me any problems."

Bowers was considered a top-five NFL draft pick after last season, when he led the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with 15.5 sacks and won the Bronko Nagurski and Ted Hendricks awards as the nation's top defensive player and defensive end. But knee surgery in January bred whispers about Bowers' physical condition, something he tried to address Friday.

"I think I had a decent day," said Bowers, who partially tore his right meniscus during Clemson's 14-13 victory over N.C. State on Nov. 6. "I think I got the point across I was trying to get across."

But a source close to Bowers told NFL.com's Steve Wyche that the lineman was "disappointed" with his 40-yard dash times, which ranged from 4.8 seconds to the high 4.9s. Bowers ran 40s in the 4.7-second range while training for the pro day.

According to NFL Network, Bowers also posted a 34½-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot-2 broad jump at the pro day. He didn't perform the bench press, deciding to stick with the 22 repetitions he did at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

Bowers will visit four NFL teams next week, starting with the Denver Broncos on Monday, a source with knowledge of the situation told Wyche. The Broncos own the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Bowers said he also will visit the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts next week, but he didn't reveal the fourth team. Visits with other teams are scheduled for the following week.

Bowers will undergo medical re-evaluations April 9 while in Indianapolis, the source told Wyche.

At least 20 NFL teams were on hand to watch Bowers' two-hour session Friday. Among those in attendance were Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, Bills general manager Buddy Nix and Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff.

The Bills hold the third overall pick in the draft, and the Cardinals pick two slots later. The Falcons own the 27th selection.

Bowers has yet to announce if he'll attend the NFL draft in New York on April 28, but he might want to share the moment with his family and friends in his hometown of Bamberg, S.C. A source close to Bowers told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that the lineman very likely will stay home for the draft.

Bowers was mentioned as the potential No. 1 selection soon after Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck decided to stay in school, but the operation dampened such talk. None of that bothered Bowers, who could do little except rest and rehabilitate per his doctors' orders, missing on-field drills at the combine and Clemson's pro day.

"Honestly, I think it frustrated everybody around me except me," he said. "I knew I was healthy, and I was waiting for today to exploit my talents."

Bowers, who's 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, was billed as the top prospect in the country when he signed with Clemson in 2008. But he struggled through two seasons to live up to his billing, often looking lost and undisciplined.

Bowers cited the sudden deaths of his father, Dennis, and his mentor, former Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams, in 2010 as inspiration to fulfill his promise. Bowers responded with an All-American season. Along with the sacks, he had 26 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He acknowledged, though, that his game suffered after the injury against the Wolfpack.

Bowers is steadily rebuilding his stamina and strength, and he believes the team that drafts him will inherit the player who was close to unblockable for most of last season.

"I just want to reassure the teams that I could compete with the guys in the top 10," Bowers said. "That I was ready to play in the NFL with best athletes in the nation and the world."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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