Utah CB Eric Rowe Could Provide Dual Role For Saints


When the New Orleans Saints selected Malcolm Jenkins with their first round pick in 2009, the former Ohio State Buckeye was listed as a cornerback.

He played mainly on special teams and saw some time in the slot position in a few games including in Super Bowl XLIV.

Then he made the transition to free safety after former Saint Darren Sharper was nursing a knee injury and eventually Jenkins became the full time starter.

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In the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft there is a corner that could fit the same mold as Jenkins and have a dual role for them…Eric Rowe of Utah.

Rowe is listed as being 6’1″, 205 lbs. and had an outstanding performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Utah defensive back Eric Rowe to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

He ended up being the top performer in every category with the following results

  • 40-yard dash:  4.45 sec.
  • Bench Press:  19 reps
  • Vertical Jump:  39 inches
  • Broad Jump 125 inches
  • 3 Cone drill:  6.7 seconds
  • 20-yard Shuttle:  3.97 seconds
  • 60-yard Shuttle:  11.48 seconds

Although Rowe is listed as a corner, the growing notion is that he’ll project as a free safety in the NFL and for good reason.

Rowe actually spent a majority of his collegiate career playing that position before he was moved to the cornerback spot for his senior year.

After going over several draft profiles for him there is one word that keeps coming up for Rowe…physical.

Draft analyst Mike Detillier for WWL 870 AM listed in his draft report on Rowe:

"Former safety that took to the cornerback slot well..outstanding speed and foot quickness..long wingspan..can reach out and get to throws most can’t touch..very physical with receivers coming off the line of scrimmage..good ball skills."

NFL.com echoed the same thoughts and added:

"Will throw his body around in run support if needed..solid tackler..jams and disrupts shallow crossers."

WalterFootball.com’s report reads:

"He has versatile size, so he can be a physical press-man corner."

While Rowe can end up being someone who plays in the slot position, the reason for the projection at safety as well is because of a recurring knock on him.

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While good at the line of scrimmage and short distance of mirroring a receiver, his coverage skills are in need of some work.

He likely won’t be a lockdown corner playing on the edge with faster receivers due to his limited recovery speed.

Detillier further stated in his report:

"Needs some work with his foot work and his backpedal techniques..will need some work on his coverage techniques and reading and recognizing routes in a quicker manner."

While those remarks may cause Saints fans to groan a tad bit, these are things that can be corrected with the right coaching.

Sep 27, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes defensive back Eric Rowe (18) intercepts the football and runs into the end zone during the first quarter against the Washington State Cougars at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL comparison given to Rowe is a player that I really thought the Saints would have taken in last years draft but went with Stanley Jean-Baptiste instead…Cincinnati Bengals corner Pierre Desir.

Rowe is graded on average to be possibly available somewhere in the third round of this years draft which the Saints currently have two picks in.

The interest they have in Rowe is evident with the team bringing him in for a private workout and would definitely fit what the Saints are trying to achieve in the secondary.

CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang and Pete Prisco actually mocked Rowe to the Saints but with their 31st pick in the first round which I think is a big reach.

I mentioned former Ole Miss corner Senquez Golson as a possible pick for the team in the third round or fourth round earlier this week.

However if Rowe is available in the third round, the dual role corner from Utah could be a pick that fills several roles for the Saints in the future…

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