If the New England Patriots are looking for a multi-purpose offensive weapon, look no further than Kentucky product Lynn Bowden Jr.
Doug Kyed of NESN had a great article recently regarding using creativity in the New England Patriots offense after the departure of their 20-year quarterback.
In the article, he cites two interesting athletes as potential New England players in the draft to implement this strategy. He writes:
"There are two players in the draft who could add a jolt of athleticism under center in Kentucky athlete Lynn Bowden Jr. and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts."
I have written previously espousing the selection of Jalen Hurts (as has colleague William Hyland) by New England in the draft. My view, take him as early as necessary. Hurts is a great threat both passing and on the run. This article though will center on another player mentioned by Doug Kyed in his article, Lynn Bowden, Jr. of Kentucky.
An “athlete” with multiple attributes
Kyed called Lynn Bowden Jr. an “athlete” who could also contribute as he puts it, “under center”. Bowden may not necessarily seem to have a defined position in the NFL. (He actually does.) Just so happens he can do a lot of things.
"In a rare twist, Bowden is both versatile and a little bit limited. He might require a plan to maximize his value. While he’s a slot receiver by position, creative play-callers can use him as a zone-read quarterback and as a gadget receiver for jet sweeps and a variety of short catch-and-run screens."
NFL.com stacks Bowden up at 5’11” tall and weighing 204 pounds. He also has big hands at 9.75 inches, always a plus for a Patriots quarterback. Or a receiver for that matter.
So, New England Patriots, draft him and put together a plan for this player! NFL.com lists Bowden as a wide receiver on their Bowden page. I agree and definitely see Bowden fitting in as a slot receiver on the Patriots, especially on a Patriots’ team with Jalen Hurts at quarterback.
A nightmare for opposing defenses
Let’s start a rumor, the Patriots will stock up on multi-threat offensive pieces this offseason! Lynn Bowden Jr. can be a multi-threat guy who could be a nightmare (make that another nightmare along with Hurts) for NFL defenses to plan against. By the way, Bowden remind you of anyone? 5’11” tall, 204 pounds. College quarterback experience. Wide receiver. OK, not exactly but Julian Edelman does come to mind.
Bowden could sub in for Edelman for a breather or if he gets injured. And, ultimately he can take his spot when Edelman decides to hang up his cleats, hopefully in a Patriots’ uniform, thank you.
Some additional attributes cited by NFL.com:
"Has zone read, running back and jet sweep valueRuns with excellent vision and toughnessSlippery but strong with ball in his handsVery difficult for first tackler to get him down cleanlyHas some vertical value from the slotQuick catch-and-tuck to get upfield after catchHard to jar ball loose from him at catch-pointFearless, efficient and effective as kick returner"
I like the thought of Bowden joining the New England Patriots weak set of wide receivers. He’d add another Edelman-like dimension with end-around ability, flea-flicker throwing ability and, very conveniently, returning kicks.
Bowden ticks off a lot of boxes for the Patriots. He’s versatile. Tough. (Not enough of that on this team right now. Add Hurts and Bowden to Edelman and that changes in a hurry on offense.) And, though a wide receiver, he can also serve as a third quarterback and free up a roster spot unnecessarily used on that position.
Draftwire.usatoday.com projects Bowden to be a day 3 pick. That’s 4th round or so. Perfect. The Patriots have 3 picks late in the 3rd round. Unless dealt away, one of those could well be allocated to draft Bowden.
I previously wrote that drafting a speedy wide receiver is a must in the first three rounds. Fine. NFL.com doesn’t have him running the 40 at the Combine, so his speed is a bit of a mystery.
But if Bowden is available when the Patriots pick in the latter stages of the third round, I’d make an exception for him. Bowden may just add an additional spark to a Patriots’ offense that had little combustion last season when they really needed it.