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Monday, May 2, 2011
Will Browns regret passing on Bowers?

By James Walker

Over the next few years, the Cleveland Browns and their fans should keep an eye on the defensive line of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Why, you ask? Because that is where former Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers landed with the No. 51 overall pick in the second round.

Da'Quan Bowers
The Browns skipped over Da'Quan Bowers, above, in the second round and instead took defensive end Jabaal Sheard.
Bowers was a dominant pass-rushing end in college and a top-10 talent before knee concerns plummeted his stock. Cleveland entered the draft extremely thin at defensive end and passed on Bowers twice.

The Browns skipping Bowers is the first round was expected. But, fair or unfair, Cleveland picking Pittsburgh defensive end Jabaal Sheard adds some additional pressure on the second-round pick. The Browns passed over Bowers for another prospect at the same position, but general manager Tom Heckert was happy with the decision.

"He's a good football player we think he can play the run, he obviously can rush the passer," Heckert said. "I think he was the defensive player of the year this year in the Big East. He's a really good player. He was a guy we targeted a long, long time ago and we were happy he was there. We were a little nervous about it but we’re glad he was there."

Time will tell if Heckert was correct. But previous Browns regimes have been known to pass over great players.

Minus the knee concerns, many felt Bowers had the potential to be a future Pro Bowler. That would not be good for Cleveland, especially if Sheard doesn't have the same level of production for the Browns.

Keep tabs development as both young defensive ends progress in their careers.