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Bucs show commitment to D-line, calculated risk with Bowers pick

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted April 29, 2011 @ 8:35 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

There is a lot of talk about value picks at this point in the draft, as teams pick up players with first-round grades in the second round of the draft. The Buccaneers may have given themselves an initial boost with their second-round pick, but there are concerns that the gains will not be long lasting.

DE Da'Quan Bowers, who was once considered a potential No. 1 overall pick, went to the Bucs with the 51st choice. His steep fall, prompted by concerns about his long-term durability, is one of the most dramatic drops we've seen, but Tampa Bay is hoping that his right knee — he underwent surgery in January and reportedly needs to undergo another surgery on it — holds up long enough to help the team upgrade a pass rush that has been one of the league's least productive.

Some teams pulled Bowers off their draft board after his medical tests. The Bucs team doctors must have told GM Mark Dominik something that gave him the confidence to make the pick.

After taking DE Adrian Clayborn — who also was flagged by teams for a health risk (he suffers from Erb's palsy, a birth condition that limits the strength and usage of his right arm) — in the first round, Dominik has followed the pattern he set last season when he took two defensive tackles, Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, with his first two picks.

Bowers has a rare blend of speed and power and should start at left end immediately if his knee allows him to. He joins the same team that drafted the late Gaines Adams, who Bowers considered a big brother, and will be expected to bring pressure off the edge playing alongside Clayborn, McCoy and Price. McCoy, however, is coming off a torn biceps and Price was shut down after five games last season with a pelvic fracture.

The Bucs have assembled four talented young pieces on the D-line, but they each have physical issues they'll need to overcome, and Bowers' situation appears to be the most serious.

Dominik is taking risks, but he could be rewarded for doing so if those four players can stay healthy.

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