Free Agent Scouting Report: Navorro Bowman

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Judge The Game, Not The Name.

The Raiders seem to have abandoned that mantra in the past year as they looked to get over the hump while in their apparent Super Bowl window. They added past-their-prime veterans in Marshawn Lynch and Navorro Bowman to fill glaring roster holes on a shoddy roster. They brought Jon Gruden out of retirement after a decade away from the game.

Bowman was one of the quintessential building blocks of the great John Harbaugh teams in San Francisco. Playing alongside Patrick Willis, he earned First-Team All-Pro honors four times. A pair of ACL injuries have zapped some of the athleticism that made him one of the most recognizable players in the league. After a shaky start to the year, the new 49ers regime let him go on October 13th.

Oakland swept him off the free agent scrap pile quickly. Bowman was an everydown inside linebacker that played strong against the run and played the hook curl in zone. He typically took running backs in man, although he was occasionally asked to cover tight ends in short areas. Bowman possesses prototypical size with below average athletic ability with good change of direction, solid agility, adequate quickness and acceleration, and marginal balance and fluidity.




Pro Position(s)


Prospect (Last, First)

Bowman, Navorro

DOB (Age)


Scout Name (Last, First)

Trapp, Zack



Penn State




Free agent 


INJURIES 2017 –No Injuries

2016-ACL Tear (12 Games, Placed on IR WK5)

2015-No Games Missed, Listed for Finger Injury WK12-17

2014-Placed on IR for ACL

2013-No Games Missed

2012-No Games Missed

2011-No Games Missed

2010-No Games Missed

KEY STATS Career-4xFirst-Team All-Pro (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015), 3xPro-Bowl(2012, 2013, 2015)

Led NFL Tackles in 2015, 120 Tackles in 2013(2nd in NFL)

2017-80 Tackles, 1.5 Sacks, 997 Total Snaps



Height Weight 40 YD 10 YD Arm Hand Vert 3Cone SS Broad Bench
6004 242lbs. 4.77s 1.65s 33 9 7/8 29.5” 6.91s 4.59s 907” 26reps


Bowman is an impressive player before the snap. He’s an active communicator that reads the offense’s alignment and occasionally calls out the play to his teammates. When he reads his keys well, he is quick to move up and fill his lane. Bowman possesses exceptionally strong hands to stack against good guards and fullbacks with ideal hand placement against inside runs. He shows impressive ability to lower his shoulder and evade blocks to generate penetration. He flashes the ability to slide over and make tackles outside of his gap.

When he’s aligned on the playside, he can get to the edge on outside zone plays. When he can get outside, he throws a long arm to keep outside leverage when lineman climb to the 2nd level. He trusts his instincts and will shoot downhill to blow up plays in the backfield. Bowman is a strong tackler that brings power into contact when he’s in position.

Bowman is a capable zone player that reads to the quarterback’s eyes and splits the difference between routes when he’s conflicted. He looks for contact and throws chips to passing receivers. In man, he takes good angles to his assignment and shows impressive change of direction skills on short area routes.


For a player as smart as he is, Bowman was caught flat-footed and slow to diagnose blocking schemes far too often. Bowman’s aggression works against him far too often for comfort. He’ll abandon his assignment and chase the running back looking for the highlight play, leaving open cutback lanes.

Bowman is heavy-footed and struggles to get to the outside from the backside. He has a hard time evading uncovered guards on outside runs. He’s an inconsistent tackler that comes in high and will overpursue to the hip. He’ll drop his head into contact and tries to upend the ball carrier, leaving him vulnerable against jump cuts.

When the quarterback scrambles, Bowman will abandon his area early in zone looking for the ball. He doesn’t have a great feel for routes behind him and will take poor angles to close on underneath routes. In man, he’s overly aggressive and bites hard on feign steps.


Bowman provided a stabilizing presence for a weak linebacking group in Oakland, but his days of stardom look all but over. He’s ideally a backup MIKE in a 3-4 defense that can excel at the point of attack and provide some veteran leadership. He could be worth a look as a 2-down SAM if he can improve in coverage. It’s unlikely that he’ll leave the Raiders, but he’d provide a low-risk depth signing on a short term deal.

Grade: 4.00 (Backup You Can Win With)

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