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Will Eric Rowe be a 1st round NFL Draft pick?

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Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Weddle, Sean Smith, Brice McCain, Brandon Burton, RJ Stanford, Robert Johnson and Keith McGill - all defensive backs that have been drafted into the NFL since Kyle Whittingham took over as head coach in 2005. Another name is poised to join that list, and possibly as a 1st round pick - Eric Rowe.

Rowe was essentially a day one starter when he walked onto Utah's campus out of Spring, Texas. Joining the Utes during their inaugural season in the Pac-12, Rowe was an instant impact guy. His freshman season, he was named Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (first team), Scout.com/CFN (first team), Yahoo! Sports (second team) and Phil Steele (third team). Mind you, when his first three seasons for the Utes, Rowe was a safety. During his final season as a corner, where Kyle Whittingham moved him after Reggie Porter went down with a knee injury, Rowe had a very solid season, and opened some eyes. His stats on the season were 59 tackles, three tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, 13 passes defended and one interception, which was a pick six. For his career, Rowe had 261 tackles, 1.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries, 34 passes defended and three picks.

All-in-all, mix in some Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 nominations, Eric Rowe had a very good career as a Ute. However, it was Rowe's NFL Draft Combine numbers that really caught the attention of NFL Scouts. With his 4.4 40, and the other insane numbers, all were at the top for his position group, put him on the draft radar, and has made him a potential 1st round draft pick.

While Rowe's measurables and physicality rank him near the top of the class at cornerback, he could also potentially be ranked as the draft's top safety, a position that is viewed to have a lack of top-end talent in this year's class. -Bleacher Report


It was just a couple months ago when on our podcast, The U Fan Cast, that Steven and I predicted Rowe would be the first Ute drafted because of his size and athleticism as a defensive back. NFL teams love big DB's. Sure enough, after those amazing combine numbers, Rowe has caught the eye of national media and scouts.

Here's what Bleacher report had to say about Rowe's draft prospects:

While Rowe's measurables and physicality rank him near the top of the class at cornerback, he could also potentially be ranked as the draft's top safety, a position that is viewed to have a lack of top-end talent in this year's class.

Ultimately, the position he plays in the NFL will be determined—at least initially—by the secondary needs of the team that makes the call to draft him before anyone else can.

The sweet spot for Rowe's draft stock could come between picks 19 and 32, where the Browns (No. 19 overall pick), Eagles (No. 20), Lions (No. 23), Cardinals (No. 24), Ravens (No. 26) and Patriots (No. 32) all have first-round picks.

The Green Bay Packers, who hold the No. 30 overall pick, are also among the teams highly interested in Rowe, according to Tony Pauline. Additional teams picking in that late first-round range who could potentially target Rowe for secondary help include the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 22 overall pick), Dallas Cowboys (No. 27), Indianapolis Colts (No. 29) and New Orleans Saints (No. 31).

Should he make it past all of those teams in Round 1, potential landing spots for Rowe in the first half of Round 2 would include Tampa Bay (No. 34), the Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 36), the Atlanta Falcons (No. 42), Cleveland (No. 43), New Orleans (No. 44), the Minnesota Vikings (No. 45) and Miami (No. 47).

Read the rest here.

SI.com has Rowe as their 2nd rated safety, only behind Landon Collins of Alabama:

Rowe started 13 games at free safety as a true freshman, registering 69 tackles, an interception and 10 pass breakups, and he excelled at that position through the 2013 season. Last year, the Utes moved him to cornerback, and though he played well there (59 tackles, a pick and 13 passes defensed), many see him as an ideal safety—precisely because there are so few pure cover safeties in this class. The 6'1", 205-pound Rowe certainly looks the part, with excellent field speed and outstanding awareness in deep coverage. Rowe's primary liability as a cornerback, an inability to jam and physically​ beat receivers in press coverage consistently, would be far less of an issue were he covering the deep third for an NFL defense, and he could be a first-round prospect based on that potential.

Click here for the rest of the article.

CBSSports.com in one of their mock drafts has E Rowe going to the defending Super Bowl champs at the end of round one.

32. New England Patriots — Eric Rowe, CB, Utah — Corner run! Bill Belichick needs to stock up on his secondary players after losing Browner and Darrelle Revis. Rowe gives him a guy he can mold into a future stud at the position.

See the rest of the mock draft by clicking here.

That's just a sample of the buzz going on around the league about Eric Rowe. With all that said, is Rowe worthy of a first round pick, and that big money? As a Ute fan, yeah, you bet. But objectively, I don't know if Rowe has shown first round consistency and playmaking during his career as a Ute. I mean, if Eric Weddle wasn't a first round pick, then I don't know how Rowe is. The beauty of the NFL, as well as the frustrating part, is if you have some serious measureables, like Rowe does, have some good film, and show a high ceiling, then you're going to get one heck of a shot.

If that happens for Rowe, that will be a second consecutive draft that a former Utah safety turned corner gets drafted based off of size, speed and potential, although, in fairness Rowe has a lot more good film and experience than Keith McGill had a year ago. Of course, maybe that's the difference between being a four round pick, like McGill was, and a possible first round pick.