Position flexibility; starting experience at safety and corner
Vision; reads receivers and quarterbacks well
May need to work on off-man coverage
Could have issues with elite NFL speed receivers
Would be nice if he turned more breakups into interceptions
Summary: A trend across the NFL for a number of years now has been to favor cornerbacks with size and length. Rowe is another big corner who is physical, instinctive and just an all-around good football player. He was a solid defender for the Utes the past few seasons.
As a sophomore and junior, Rowe played free safety and notched 69 and 64 tackles respectively. The Utes moved the senior to cornerback for 2014, and he turned in a strong 2014 campaign as one of the better cornerbacks in the Pac-12. Rowe broke up 13 passes with an interception and 59 tackles for the year.
There is a lot to like about Rowe for the NFL. He is a corner with size and length to take on big receivers. He has enough quickness to run with them and matches up well as a press-man corner. He would be a good fit in the Seahawks' style of big press-man corners. Rowe also could be a fit for a zone scheme like the Tampa 2. He has the instincts and ball skills to be a nice defender for picking up receivers in his territory. Rowe could stand to work on his off-man coverage, and he may not have the speed to leave on an island against a fast vertical receiver.
One thing that is impressive about Rowe is his tenacity and his physical style of play. Rowe will hit receivers and ball-carriers hard, and is not a finesse cornerback. He will be a nice defender to use in the red zone as he is skilled at fighting for 50-50 passes and is tough to push around. If Rowe doesn't emerge as a good cover corner, free safety is a nice backup position for him.
In the 2015 NFL Draft, Rowe looks like a second-day pick and most likely a second-rounder.
Player Comparison: Casey Hayward. Rowe wasn't the interception machine that Hayward was in college, but their styles of play are very similar aside from Hayward's ability to pick off passes that Rowe is lacking. Both corners have some size, length, physicality and ball skills. Hayward and Rowe are solid football players with good instincts. Hayward was a second-round pick (62nd overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft, and I could see Rowe going in that same range.
NFL Matches: Minnesota, New Orleans, San Francisco, Miami, Philadelphia, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New England, Detroit
There are a lot for teams that are in the market to improve their cornerbacks and the free agent market was consumed quickly, so Rowe has a number of landing spots in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Minnesota is in the cornerback market for a partner for Xavier Rhodes. With the passing attacks in Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago, the Vikings are going to need a top-notch secondary. Plus, Mike Zimmer is always inclined to draft corners.
The Saints signed some veterans, but they could consider more cornerback help. Peters could be in play for New Orleans' five picks on the first two days of the 2015 NFL Draft. San Francisco and Miami also could us a long-term starters at corner as both rosters have some age at the position. Cornerback is the biggest need for the 49ers. He could be a perfect fit for them in the second round.
Philadelphia signed some veterans, but they could still consider cornerback help. Peters could be the nickel and eventually become a starter when the organization saves money by cutting a veteran. The Eagles brought in Rowe for a pre-draft visit.
Arizona needs a cornerback to replace Antonio Cromartie, and Rowe has the skill set that Cardinals look for. He could form a nice duo with Patrick Peterson.
The Steelers have a huge hole at corner. Rowe fits the type of defensive backs that Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have drafted in the past.
The Ravens need to improve their cornerback play and could definitely be a landing spot for Rowe. They've shown interest in him and had him in for a pre-draft visit. The Colts could use a long-term starter to pair with Vontae Davis.
Green Bay lost some veteran corners in free agency and like big cornerbacks who can run. Rowe should be in play for the Packers at the end of the second round.
Rowe could also fit the Patriots as they have to replace Darrelle Revis. The Lions got a good year out of Rashean Mathis. but he won't play forever, and they could use a corner to pair with Darius Slay in the long run. Detroit brought Rowe in for a pre-draft visit.