Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers this week visited the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills -- they hold the second and third overall draft picks, respectively -- and he'll see the Tennessee Titans, who pick eighth, before traveling to Indianapolis for a medical follow-up on his surgically repaired right knee Saturday.
At one point, Bowers was considered an option for the Carolina Panthers, who hold the No. 1 overall selection in this month's draft. But his stock seems to have weakened because of concerns about his knee and possible residual issues outside of the meniscus damage that was arthroscopically repaired.
So, Bowers took a major leap of faith that could help or hamper his draft stock, and the move has been somewhat overlooked.
By going on visits this week, Bowers allowed Denver, then Buffalo and Tennessee the opportunity to check out his knee after his first fairly extensive workout following the procedure. Bowers rehabilitated the knee for weeks, but his training mainly was for rehabilitative purposes, not to prepare for the football-related drills he did Friday at his private pro day. He was pushed hard with mixed results, but outwardly, he didn't seem to be bothered by his knee.
Had Bowers opted not to work out at all -- or after he went on personal visits or private workouts -- teams might not have been able to gauge how the knee responded to physical activity. That would leave a lot of guesswork for teams, even if they had multiple medical exams at their disposal. Now that these teams can see how the knee reacted, they will have a better idea if the elite pass rusher is worth being selected near the top of the draft.
I've spoken to teams with concerns that could be clarified through this process and with the results of Bowers' medical follow-up in Indianapolis. If he checks out medically and if there aren't any issues following some of the workouts, things could turn out for the better for Bowers. Conversely, if there are more complications, his draft stock could fall.