PRO 2020 Rookie Spotlight: Lynn Bowden Jr., WR Kentucky
Lynn Bowden Jr., WR Kentucky
Height: 5’10 5/8″
Hand: 9 3/4″
Arm: 30 7/8″
40-yard dash: 4.40 (projected)
NFL Comparison: Randall Cobb, Julian Edelman
2019 Market Share Numbers
24% receiving yards
11% receiving TDs
– unbelievable versatility
– a baller who competes like a dog
– unbelievably led the SEC in rushing as a WR transitioned to QB
– Hornung award-winner as nation’s best all-purpose player
– most dynamic WR in the 2020 draft if basing on rushing + return yards
– decent BMI for a projected slot WR, not frail-bodied
– not a polished product at any one position, jack of all trades
– could project him as more of a gadget player than every down contributor
– don’t have any combine measurables on him
– not a polished route runner
– not quite as shifty as he is straight-line fast
Scouting Evaluation: Arguably the most versatile player in the game in 2019, Lynn Bowden switched from WR to QB for the final 8 games of his final season at Kentucky — and even managed to go 6-2 as the starter while also leading the SEC in rushing. He’s clearly a competitor, leader and baller. He’s also hot-headed, having gotten into a fight with Virginia Tech players prior to a big performance in the 2019 Belk Bowl.
Kentucky QB/WR Lynn Bowden had issues with Virginia Tech pregame, and even punched a Tech player.
Here’s what ESPN captured: pic.twitter.com/YHPa4YXrAV
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) December 31, 2019
The 2019 film on Bowden Jr. is not really as telling for how his skillset will translate to the NFL as his 2018 tape where he is actually playing WR. However, we can glean some things: mainly that he’s a playmaker in the open field with good vision and great straight-line speed. If he gets the space, he can put on the afterburners. He’s not quite as shifty in short areas as you might expect given his athletic gifts, but in all he moves very well with the ball in his hands and profiles as the type of threat an NFL team will want to get the ball in the hands of in a variety of different ways. You could see him used out of the slot, on end-arounds and jet sweeps and most certainly in the screen game heavily.
He’s not a polished receiver and may need to do some learning on the fly in the mold of positionless converts such as Julian Edelman, Cecil Shorts and Randall Cobb — who is by far his most common comp among draft analysts.
Fantasy Outlook: It will be more landing-spot dependent than most as Bowden Jr. will need to go to a club who is interested in really investing in his skillset and finding ways to use him effectively. He’s smart and can understand how offenses run while clearly being competitive as hell with terrific, dynamic athleticism to boot. He’s worth a late-second round pick in dynasty based on upside prior to the NFL draft, but, with the right landing spot and draft capital, he could rocket up to a player we are talking about taking more toward the top of the 2nd round in 1 QB rookie drafts. How redraft-viable he’ll be in Year 1 is even more dependent on these factors.
From the Kentucky Athletic Department:
Played in 39 career games with 25 starts
2019 Paul Hornung Award winner
2019 First-Team All-American and All-SEC selection
In three seasons, became just the 38th player in school history to reach 1,000 career rushing yards, totaling 1,530 for No. 21 on UK’s career list
Totaled 1,303 career receiving yards for No. 18 on UK’s career list
Totaled 114 career receptions for No. 13 on UK’s career list
Just the 10th player in school history to reach 4,000 all-purpose yards in a career, finishing with 4,660 career all-purpose yards for No. 5 on UK’s career list
Also had 71 kick returns (third in school history) for 1,628 yards (fourth in school history) and nine punt returns for 199 yards and two scores
Just the second player in school history (also Randall Cobb) with 1,000 career yards in receiving, rushing and kickoff returns
Broke or tied the following SEC/UK records:
most rushing yards by a quarterback school history (1,369 in eight games in 2019)
most rushing yards by a quarterback in a bowl game (233 vs. Virginia Tech in 2019 Belk Bowl)
most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback in SEC history (284 vs. Louisville in 2019)
tied the school records for most TDs in a game and most rushing TDs in a game (four vs. Louisville in 2019)
most 100-yard rushing games in a single season by a QB in school history (seven in 2019)
tied the school record for most 200-yard rushing games in a season and a career (three in 2019)
best yards per rushing attempt in a single season (7.9 in 2019)
most kick return yards in a single season (869 in 2017)
Went 6-2 as UK’s starting quarterback in 2019
Quotable from the Combine:
Why he was receptive to moving to QB:
“I just wanted to win, for real. We had the better chance at us winning with me at quarterback, so that’s what I wanted to do.”
On potential affect on draft stock:
“I thought about it. I felt like it could only help me.”
Heard from teams:
“They like it. They appreciate that I did that. That I was a team player first. That I didn’t think about myself.”
“It put it on display. I feel like it just helped me a lot.”
Team to speak with:
“I’ve talked to almost all of them, for real.”
Do you need a position?
“Nah, you can play me wherever you want to play me.”
Have teams expressed that?
“Yeah, they did.”
How did playing QB help draft stock?
“It showed I had a high IQ, just playing quarterback in the SEC. It was good.”
On how important his workout is:
“It’s important. I’m not going to run it here because I suffered a hamstring strain. The plan is to go full effect at our pro day.”
What he’ll run at his pro day?
“I don’t know. You gotta come and see. (March 27).”
On playing in the SEC:
“It prepared me. It’s the NFL, and then it’s the SEC. I played in the best league. It just got me ready.”
Thinking back to high school:
“From my first snap as a running back in high school to my last one as a quarterback and my last snap as a quarterback in college, it’s just dumb crazy. I knew I had it in me to get here, I just never expected to be here.”
Who helped him:
“My mom, first and foremost. She always helped me, my No. 1 supporter from Day 1. Just my mom and my grandma — Grandma Dorothy.”
On Randall Cobb comparisons:
“We both are different people, but to be compared to him was something good. It motivated me, because people had expectations like that for me. I just wanted to set the standard and raise the bar. I’ve talked to him a couple times. I met him my sophomore year. I think we were playing Mississippi State or something. I met him in the locker room. Good dude.”
“I feel like I can say I helped change Kentucky. We’re getting a lot of high recruits there. That was just my main goal and what I really wanted to focus on in Kentucky.”
On most memorable moment:
“I still haven’t had time to do that. The best thing to me was just throwing the pass to Josh and winning the game in the bowl game.”
On what he’ll be in the NFL:
“I’ll be the best I can. I’ll be the same guy I am, just a leveled-up guy, I guess.”
What he’s had to prepare for:
It’s the first time in my life training. So, that’s something different for me. I’ve just been trying to soak everything up. It’s different because you have to really just focus on what the trainers want you to focus on. In practice, you just go with the flow and just let yourself go. It ain’t like that in training.”
What he’s focusing on:
I’ve focused on everything. There isn’t one thing that sticks out to me. I’m an athlete.
Do combine drills matter?
“No, they really don’t. I feel like it’s just a platform for the teams to get to know you. It really ain’t got much to do with football. 40 speed is different than game speed.”
Can he play some QB in the NFL?
“Yeah. Why not?”
Have teams expressed that?
Do you like watching players like Taysom Hill, Lamar Jackson?
“Definitely. I feel like the game, sooner or later, is going to evolve into that. I like it.”
How he switched to QB:
“I was taking the 2s rep when Terry went down. They always had me prepared. I was just tired of losing, so I told coach during the South Carolina game, just give me a shot. And he did.”
Does he want to play a specific position in the NFL?
I just want to play. Showcase my abilities.
On Kentucky keeping Vince Marrow:
Very important. He’s bringing in guys left and right. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have been at Kentucky.
How close was he to transferring after freshman year?
“Probably like, if I hadn’t talked with them, I was gone.”
What he sees from Kentucky:
“SEC Championship. I’m holding them to a bar that’s up here. I know they’re going to go get it. Sooner or later, they’re going to go get it.”
Will he work out at QB?
“If they want me to. I’ll do whatever they want me to. I’ll work out at D-lineman if they want.”
What kind of questions he gotten:
“They just really want to get to know me, know my background. I know they know me. They just want to see if they can trust me. I’m up front.”
What’s the question you’ve been asked most that you maybe weren’t prepared for?
I was prepared for it. Virginia Tech situation. That was the most asked question since I’ve been here. I just tell them the whole thing. I regret it. I did it. We won.
Were they trying to get under your skin?
They just wanted me to get kicked out of the game. They knew they couldn’t beat us. 233 yards on them.
High School play that went viral. Do you want to play special teams?
I want to do everything I can. If I’m fortunate to get there, I want to play everything. I ain’t trying to be a basic guy. I’m trying to be that guy. I want to be a superstar at every position I can.
Player he models himself after:
When I was as at quarterback, Lamar. Right now, I’m just being me, though. I’m trying to better me.
What he wants to be:
Just put the ball in my hands. We’ll go from there. If they give me the first shot to touch the ball, just show them why Kentucky took a chance on me.
How he went from WR to QB
“I won’t say I had no experience at quarterback. I played it three years in high school. Coming to Kentucky, it was my first time ever playing receiver. A lot of that stuff was still fresh in my memory, because I have to be ready at all times. I did it. I just put my trust in my coaches, put my faith in god and my teammates. I’m a ball player, and I like to compete. I’ve got the biggest heart you’ll ever come across. I don’t care who I play against.”
Did you catch anyone by surprise?
“Probably. They probably thought I couldn’t do it. I can see why. I’m playing receiver for three years. I’m here and there at wildcat, but I did it. I completed almost 50 percent of my balls. I think that’s a pretty good ratio. Even though I ran for almost, what? 1500 yards. SEC rushing yards leader this year, yards per carry in the nation. I think I did a pretty good job.
Surprised he led the SEC in rushing?
A little bit. Just imagine if I started Day 1. I don’t know. A lot of good players, though.
I feel like a couple guys here can relate to me. Just get the ball in my hands and just watch the show. It’s really a show. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just something in us, I guess.
What part of game translates best to the NFL?
Everything about me. Just get the ball in my hands. I’m sure you guys have seen me. Just get the ball in my hands.
Tough to not run?
I’m very disappointed. I literally just did this like two or three days ago before I got here. I told my agent that I’d still do it, but I don’t want to put anything bad down on paper and hurt me. (Right hamstring.)