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Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Have at It: Bowers at No. 12 or No. 13?

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Thanks to everyone for participating in Tuesday's SportsNation chat, where I promised to re-start our "Have at It" feature as the lockout-ensnared offseason rolls on. So we'll kick it off thanks to a question that came from "Gunther Cunningham."
Gunther Cunningham (Allen Park, MI)

Da'Quan Bowers to the Lions at #13? I'm salivating at the thought of Suh/Bowers on my DL for the next 5-10 years. Think of all the mismatches!!

Kevin Seifert (2:34 PM)

Yes, and SI's Peter King puts the two together in his mock draft this week. The big question is Bowers' knee. If it needs microfracture surgery, then it's a very risky pick.
Da'Quan Bowers
Da'Quan Bowers racked up 16 sacks last season, but a knee injury has hurt his stock.
To recap, Bowers is the Clemson defensive end who exploded for 16 sacks last season and is one of the top prospects in the draft. But the status of his right knee, which required arthroscopic surgery in January, has clouded what would otherwise be a near-certain position in the draft's Top 10.

Bowers' agent told my AFC West colleague Bill Williamson that the knee is healthy and has dismissed reports it could need microfracture surgery. In the video below, Bowers told ESPN's "First Take" the surgery "was a small procedure" and that the injury was "nothing major."

But if injury concerns put Bowers into a draft-day free fall, two NFC North teams could be in position to capitalize. And that's where you come in.

If you're the Minnesota Vikings, do you draft Bowers at No. 12? You've got right end Jared Allen under contract for three more seasons, but left end Ray Edwards might move on via free agency. Defensive end isn't a top need, but would the chance to land an elite pass-rusher be enough to make this pick?

And if the Vikings pass, should the Lions pounce? Their defensive line is already the strength of the team, but a true pass-rushing defensive end is among the rarest of commodities. It could be quite a fortuitous opportunity.

If you're the Vikings or Lions, do you let your team doctors make this decision? In other words, would Bowers need a completely clean bill of health to make the pick? Or are you willing to take a health risk at No. 12 or No. 13 that other teams wouldn't consider at, say, No. 4 or No. 5? Remember, the likely advent of a new rookie wage scale could mitigate the financial impact of a top-1o risk.

Let me know what you think in the comment section below. I'll publish a representative sample, along with my own thoughts, by the end of the week. Have at It.