Barry Jackson

Dolphins meet Thursday with interesting, rising linebacker prospect

Previewing who the Dolphins might pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

The Dolphins have a ton of needs, but here's who Adam Beasley thinks the team might pick in this year's draft.
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The Dolphins have a ton of needs, but here's who Adam Beasley thinks the team might pick in this year's draft.

The Dolphins, determined to add edge rushers and linebacker help in the draft process, hosted an on-the-rise outside linebacker at team headquarters on Thursday.

According to a team source, Houston’s Tyus Bowser met with Dolphins coaches and executives at their Davie offices.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Bowser going 39th overall to the Jets.

“Bowser is the rare top-end pass-rusher in this class who probably has to stick in a 3-4 defense,” Kiper said. “At 6-3, 247, just stick him outside and let him rush the passer.”

But Bowser (pictured above defending Alabama tight end O.J. Howard at the Senior Bowl) told The Houston Chronicle that “a lot of teams see me as a 4-3 Sam linebacker off the ball. I don't mind trying any position."

The Dolphins, whose first two picks are at 22 and 54, are looking for 4-3 outside linebacker help and apparently believer Bowser can play in a 4-3.

He also probably could play defensive end.

Bowser overcame adversity to produce a strong senior season.

According to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, Bowser was injured in “an exercise intended to promote team camaraderie days prior to a September game against the University of Connecticut. Bowser got into a scuffle with fellow linebacker Matt Adams during a heated altercation that got out of hand between the two longtime friends. Bowser got the worst of the exchange, suffering a broken orbital bone near his right eye that required surgery and sidelined him for five games during his senior year.”

But he overcame that setback and led the Cougars with 8.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss in just eight games. Bowser played basketball and football over his first two years at Houston, then had 50 tackles and 5.5 sacks as a junior.

Teams are not holding the incident against Bowser, because he was not the aggressor and he is viewed favorably.

"We get very competitive about these team-bonding things," Bowser told Wilson. "We always talk trash, the usual stuff 20-year-old guys do, very competitive. It just happens. I tend to be good at the game, so a lot of guys get mad about it. When I win, I just beat the guy.

"He took it a little personal. We were in each other's face, and coaches and players tried to get between us as far as breaking us up. He took a swing at me and it landed. We talked about it. He apologized. We're both grown men. We're still best friends."

Here is Lance Zierlein’s assessment of Bowser on NFL.com:

“STRENGTHS Explosive, quick-twitch athlete. Bursts out of his stance and challenges the edge. Good shoulder turn at the edge of rush and can dip and corner with very tight radius. Showed ability to play in variety of spots. Crisp change of direction ability. Took to his coaching and showed drastic improvement against the run this year. Played two years of college basketball at Houston which shows up with his footwork and fluidity when dropping into space. Has ability to pattern match tight ends. Light is starting to come on for him. Should have a big day at the combine.

WEAKNESSES Undersized on the edge. May not have the frame to carry much more weight. Can be engulfed by size. Needs to get better with hands at point of attack. Still has issues where he looks like a basketball guy learning football. Production as pass rusher doesn't match his explosive traits. Pass rush is built around athleticism and not enough around skill. Has to get even tougher and more skilled against the run.

BOTTOM LINE Ascending pass-rush prospect who is still learning the fundamentals of his position thanks to a late commitment to the sport. Bowser's movement ability in space creates interesting possibilities for teams looking for a twitched-up toy to play with. Bowser lacks production, but his explosive characteristics off the edge will push him up the draft board and give him a chance to play well above where some scouts might project him.”

Teams are allowed to bring in 30 non-local prospects for visits, and we’ve detailed nearly half of them in the past two weeks.

Here’s my post from earlier today on another highly-regarded linebacker that the Dolphins brought in this week.

And here’s my post on a guard the Dolphins brought in who is generating a buzz around the league, partly because of how he played against Ohio State.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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