Why Lynn Bowden Might be the NFL's
For the NFL media and NFL fans, the offseason is all about predictions. That is why mock drafts are so popular, why fantasy football is such a successful industry, and why there is so much money being made in pre-season betting. The biggest prediction that everybody is making is who the next big superstar will be in the NFL. I can confidently say that Deebo Samuel was the NFL’s biggest super star of 2021, and I believe I found the guy who will be next year’s version of Deebo Samuel. Let me rephrase that, there will never be another player like Deebo Samuel, but I do believe this player will explode on to the scene in a similar way.
Every year the coaching cycle is overshadowed by the Super Bowl and NFL playoffs. That is totally fair, the Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and an American holiday. For god sake, I take the day after the Super Bowl off of every year to show my respects to the NFL season, and to mourn the fact that I can’t watch live football for the next six months or so. But the thing that gets overshadowed by the big game is usually a team’s first step too getting to play in that big game. The coaching cycle has a tremendous impact on who the final two teams playing will be. If Sean McVay isn’t coaching the Rams or Zac Taylor isn’t coaching the Bengals, neither of these teams are playing on Sunday. I believe the Miami Dolphins just made a hire that will have the effects of the same magnitude as McVay and Taylor being hired by their franchises.
The new Dolphins head coach, Mike McDaniel, is a superstar in the making, but this article isn’t about him. However, this article is about one of his players. McDaniel was responsible for making Deebo Samuel the league’s biggest super star. Samuel’s unique skillset made him the perfect candidate to be in such a position. His ability to physically punish defenses as a running back and burn them as a receiver led to the creation of the league’s first “wide back”. If Deebo Samuel was the first “wide back”, I believe Lynn Bowden Jr. will be the league’s first “wide-er back”.
In 2020, Bowden put up just 211 receiving yards and 32 rushing yards for the Dolphins and he missed the entire 2021 season with a hamstring injury. It is safe to say that a lot of people are forgetting about the 2020 third round pick. He hasn’t put up any real production since joining the league just two years ago, but I don’t think that is his fault. The combination of injury and lack of creativity has hindered his potential, but I have good news for Bowden heading into his third year. He is completely healthy now and will have one of the most innovative minds in football calling plays for him.
While both Deebo Samuel and Lynn Bowden have completely different body types, they are similar from a versatility standpoint. Bowden played every position in college, including quarterback. That’s right, Bowden was the starting quarterback for the University of Kentucky. While Kentucky is known as a basketball school, Bowden was able to help put his school on the map as a football school in 2019. As the starting quarterback for the Wildcats, he led his team to a bowl victory over Virginia Tech and regular season wins over Arkansas, Tennessee, and Louisville. While Deebo Samuel was able to merge the running back and wide receiver position together, I believe Bowden will add the quarterback position to the mix. Even though quarterback isn’t Bowden’s natural position, having played the position for eight games must of changed the way he sees the game. Having the vision of a quarterback allows Bowden to see the game from a birds eye view. He understands how defenses are trying to play the offense and can anticipate holes in coverage. Bowden can use this perspective to tear defenses up as a receiver and manipulate them as a runner.
While Bowden isn’t as strong or as good of a receiver as Samuel, he has a similar mentality. He has a fighters mentality as he tried to take on the entire Virginia Tech team by himself before the game started in 2019. He is fearless, and I think that is a trait that Mike McDaniel will love about him. If he is able to bring that fearlessness onto the football field as a running back, McDaniel will find ways to feed him in the trenches. Bowden had no issues shedding tackles in the SEC and with a greater workload, I believe he’ll be able to run through defenders in the NFL. In McDaniel’s system, it is extremely important to be able to find holes and hit them ASAP. Bowden has the vision that running back’s need to thrive in an outside zone scheme and the speed to penetrate the open holes. I attribute his outstanding vision to his time at the quarterback position. He understands how defenses like to flow against certain looks, and he’ll make lineman stay patient instead of over-pursuing tackles. Bowden’s fearlessness, vision, and physicality makes him the perfect candidate to become a super star in Mike McDaniel’s system.
As a receiver, Bowden has been underutilized, but I think he will finally get his opportunity if he is healthy. He has all offseason to learn from his new wide receiver coach, Wes Welker, who revolutionized the slot position. If Bowden is able to clean up his technique, I believe he’ll punish defenses with crossing and over routes. The “Shanahan system” is all about getting the team’s best playmakers the ball in space, and that is why both Bowden and Jaylen Waddle should thrive in the Dolphins’ new regime. I think Samuel’s production will get split between those two playmakers who both have the potential to be superstars in the NFL.
Just like Lebron James changed the NBA with position-less basketball, Deebo Samuel changed the NFL with position-less football. I believe Bowden will be the first beneficiary of Samuel’s revolution. Whether it be at receiver, running back, or quarterback, I believe Bowden is poised for a breakout year in 2022. If Deebo Samuel is the NFL’s biggest superstar, I believe Lynn Bowden Jr will be the league’s biggest rockstar.