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How Tyus Bowser's Basketball Background Translated to Football


Here's a snippet of the scouting report on Ravens second-round rookie linebacker Tyus Bowser:

"Explosive, quick-twitch athlete. … Crisp change of direction ability. … [Excellent] footwork and fluidity when dropping into space. Has ability to pattern match tight ends."

Part of that comes from good genes. Some of it also comes from a background in basketball.

While Ravens first-round cornerback Marlon Humphrey doubled as a hurdler at Alabama during his freshman year, Bowser played two years of basketball at Houston, and believes it helped make him a better football player.

"I played shooting guard, so I am out on the wing trying to play against quicker guys," Bowser said. "I just felt using that and what I did in basketball to be able to cover receivers and running backs and tight ends – I feel like that contributed a lot."

Bowser didn't see a lot of court time at Houston. During his two seasons, he played in four games and attempted just three shots (including two three-pointers). He didn't score any points, but he did get one steal.

After arriving in Baltimore, Bowser was asked whether he ever considered sticking with basketball instead of football.

"No, not really," he said. "I had great coaches that talked to me – great mentors, great people that I can always go to for anything and they give me the best advice. Because of them, I am standing right here right now and talking to you."

Bowser's athleticism was on full display at the NFL Scouting Combine. He finished fifth among his position group in the 40-yard dash (4.65 seconds), first in the vertical jump (37.5 inches), third in the broad jump (10 feet, 6 inches) and first in the three-cone drill (6.75 seconds).

As NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said immediately after the Ravens made their second-round pick, "Tyus Bowser is one of the best athletes in the draft."

The Ravens will likely use Bowser in a variety of roles, from rushing the passer to covering tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. He's what NFL coaches call a "Joker" because he's so versatile.

One role he won't be playing is basketball player, however. Those hooping days are over.

"No. I am not allowed to. I'm getting paid to play football," Bowser said.

"Growing up with my mom, she always taught me to put in the effort in whatever you are doing. This is what I am doing – playing football. I am putting 100 percent effort into it. Anything that I am doing, I am making sure I am being my best at it."

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