Zack Bowman, CB (6001, 197, 4.36-4.53) Nebraska
Notes: Born November 18, 1984, in Columbia, South Carolina. Attended Batesburg – Leesville High School in Batesburg, South Carolina, and later Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska, from where he graduated in 2003. From a military family, he usually grew up living on an Air Force base. His parents are Zackary and Zelma Bowman, who live at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. Married, wife’s name is Alicia.
College: Spent two years at New Mexico Military Institute, where he compiled an impressive career, intercepting 10 passes, including six as a sophomore with two touchdown returns. He had 18 pass breakups as a freshman, then just four as teams generally avoided him as a sophomore. He also saw spot duty on offense as a wide receiver.
With Nebraska, he made an immediate impact in 2005 after arriving from the junior college ranks, starting the final five games and finishing with 27 tackles, a team-high 14 pass breakups and 2 interceptions. Redshirted in 2006 due to a torn ACL in his left knee suffered on the third day of fall practice. As a senior (2007) he ruptured the patellar tendon in his right knee during Spring drills, but he came back to play in 11-of-12 games with four starts; posted 29 tackles and 6 PBU. In two seasons at Nebraska, he recorded 56 tackles, 3 interceptions and 20 pass breakups in 22 games (9 starts). Was a sociology major and earned his degree in December 2007.
Pre-Draft: Measured 6001 (6’-0 1/8”), 197 pounds…18 reps at 225 pounds…1.46 10-yard…2.54 20-yard…4.39 40-yard…32-inch vertical jump…10’-5” broad jump…4.21 short shuttle…7.10 three-cone drill.
Pro: Originally drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fifth-round (No. 142 overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he began the season on the team’s practice squad before being activated in week seven, against the Vikings. In that game, he recovered a fumbled punt in the endzone for a touchdown, broke up a pass and recorded his first pro interception to kill a last-second touchdown drive. However, he suffered a biceps injury in the game that required surgery and forced him to miss the rest of the season. He was slowed by hamstring injuries in training camp 2009, but wound up taking over for Nathan Vasher at right cornerback, starting 12-of-16 games as he recorded 66 tackles, one forced fumble, 10 PBU and 6 interceptions (returned for 67 yards). He came into 2010 slated to start at left cornerback, with Charles Tillman flip-flopping to right cornerback, and played well throughout training camp. However, he was plagued by a foot injury that frequently landed him on the team’s injury report throughout the season and he ended up starting 3-of-13 games played with 32 tackles and one forced fumble. He saw action in all 16 games (starting the season finale in favor of Tim Jennings who was benched) last season (2011), recording 15 tackles. He was hindered by concussion, hamstring and groin injuries at various times throughout the season.
Signed with the Minnesota Vikings as an unrestricted free agent on March 26, 2012.
Positives: Nice size, good leaping ability and very good timed speed. Nice length and long arms. Good ball skills. Effective in press coverage. Can re-route receivers and run with them stride-for-stride downfield. Closes on the ball well and shows above-average hands.
Negatives: Inconsistent; bites on double-moves and struggles in transition at times. Is not a very physical, face-up, consistent tackler. Durability is a major concern.
Summary: A talented player with nice size, speed and ball skills. If Bowman can stay healthy, he will have a good chance to contribute with the Vikings. But the reality is that injuries have plagued him throughout his entire professional and college football career.