Nov 1, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Utah Utes wide receiver Kaelin Clay (8) warms up prior to the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Rowe – Cornerback – Utah
Rowe has a large frame (6’1, 201) that many teams will covet in this year’s draft. He’s a three-year starter at free safety who is now a converted cornerback due to the team’s desperation to replace Keith McGill, who left for the draft last year.
Utah’s pro-style defense gives Rowe a slight advantage when adjusting to NFL defenses. He has a knack for getting physical with his opponent and is extremely athletic. Reports claim that Utah coaches have clocked him at a 4.39 40-yard dash.
Teams will love to see that Rowe is very aggressive against the run and a willing tackler. Utah often used Rowe’s explosiveness to rush off the edge in obvious run situations.
Rowe is still getting used to the cornerback position so it comes as no surprise that he is still a bit raw. He is great at getting his hands on the ball and breaking up passes, but doesn’t create as many turnovers as you’d like to see. As a free safety, Rowe broke up 21 passes with just two interceptions.
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In coverage, he isn’t exactly the most fluid athlete, but he does often make up for it with his speed. Against Michigan, he was often lined up against Devin Funchess who caught a season low four passes. Funchess had him beat a few times, but a combination of Rowe’s speed and poor throwing from Devin Gardner made up for it on a couple of occasions.
Though he is a willing tackler, he tends to get lost when running downhill to meet the ball carrier. I’d like to see Rowe improve as an open field tackler as we approach the end of the season.
Why He Fits:
With more and more teams adapting to the new age NFL, tall, physical and athletic CBs like Eric Rowe are in high demand. I view him as a fourth round talent currently, but his upside could ascend him up teams’ draft boards once the NFL combine arrives.
Austin would have a field day developing Rowe and using him in press coverage.