By BEN JOHNSON
This year’s NFL draft is packed with offensive line prospects. Still, though, Michael Bowie feels like he’s getting lost in the mix.
“I think I’m getting overlooked,” said Northeastern State’s 6-foot-5, 320-pound left tackle. “I was in a good position where I was, but unfortunately I messed that up. I can’t go back, I can only go forward from here. Everything happens for a reason.”
The former Oklahoma State left tackle was dismissed by the Cowboys, and he then transferred to NSU prior to the start of the 2012 season. Following his senior campaign with the RiverHawks, Bowie garnered All-American honors and All-Conference accolades in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. He also participated in the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic.
Bowie said the level of competition didn’t drop when he went from Division I to Division II. However, he did admit that teams in the NFL see the transfer to NSU as a red flag.
“The NFL scouts see a droppage,” Bowie said. “But me, personally, playing in both conferences, the talent level is almost the same.”
Even after trading in orange and black for green and white, Bowie’s draft stock is still promising. He’s even had conversations with teams with the draft looming at the end of the month.
“I have a few teams that are interested in me, but I just can’t tell,” Bowie said without divulging any additional information about who he has talked to. “I just don’t know how high they have me.”
After talking to NFL scouts, NSU head coach Kenny Evans said Bowie could go as high as one of the middle rounds in the draft.
“His status could be he goes anywhere from the third round to possibly signing as a free agent,” said Evans, who has also had conversations with NFL assistant coaches to gauge interest in Bowie. “Although, most of them think if he’s there in the third or fourth round that they’ll be very interested in taking him. I even had one offensive line coach tell us that they’re definitely taking him in the third, no matter what.”
Bowie spoke with the Tahlequah Daily Press at a semi-pro day event at NSU’s Doc Wadley Stadium on Monday. Scouts from two NFL teams were on campus to meet with several past and present NSU players.
While several soon-to-be seniors — Victor Johnson, Vernon Jones and others — were taking the Wonderlic test and having 40-yard dash times recorded, Bowie was in street clothes after having already taken part in the University of Tulsa’s pro day in early March.
In Tulsa, scouts recorded Bowie with a 40 time of five seconds flat. He also recorded 17 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.
Since then, Bowie has been continuing his workout regiment to remain in shape for draft day.
“I’ve just been training nonstop,” he said. “Every morning and sometimes in the evenings, I go to the YMCA or I link up with some old teammates and do a couple of workouts. I just try and get better.”
While Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher are the most sought-after offensive tackles in the draft, Bowie still has qualities that scouts covet.
“Having 320 pounds that can move and change direction so well, that’s hard to find,” Evans said. “He’s more athletic then some of the guys starting in the NFL at tackle right now. He still has a lot of experience things he has to gain, but also his knowledge of the game is a plus for him.”
With the draft slated to begin on April 25 and end on April 27, Bowie said he hasn’t planned any sort of watch party for possibly the biggest day of his life.
“I don’t have any plans. I’m probably going to sit on my couch and watch it; probably going to be by myself,” Bowie said. “Nothing fancy.”