With all the excitement building around Tua Tagovailoa’s new weapons one name that seems to be getting forgotten is Lynn Bowden Jr. While his rookie year wasn’t exactly explosive, his situation wasn’t exactly ideal either, yet he still managed to put up some decent performances.
In fact as we delve behind the numbers of Lynn Bowden Jr’s rookie season and college years, you just might start to get excited for this hidden gem already on the roster. Originally selected with the 80th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Las Vegas Raiders the former Kentucky Wildcat is poised for a breakout year in 2021.
LYNN BOWDEN JR THE YOUNGER YEARS
Bowden was just 9 years old, still in uniform after a youth football game, when one man opened fire on another in the bleachers and followed him onto the field. The shooter stood over his victim in front of hundreds of witnesses, and shot the man dead. The horror is clearly imprinted on Bowden’s memory.
“That’s the first time I saw a person get killed,” Bowden says. First implies that it was not the last. “I seen a lot of shootouts,” he says, shaking his head. “Too many. Too many.”per Kyle Tucker in the Athletic
Despite a childhood that was surrounded by gangs, and things most of us are privileged enough never to have to live through, Bowden was awesome on the field rushing for 7,387 yards and 91 touchowns. He then went on to play college ball at Kentucky.
In three years at Kentucky Bowden was a versatile offensive weapon amassing 1,565 yards rushing at an average of 7.7 with 13 touchdowns, and 1,276 yards receiving at 11.2 yards per catch and another 6 touchdowns. With 67% of his receiving yards coming after the catch and 53% of his rushing yards coming after first contact he proved himself to be an elusive threat with the ball.
LYNN BOWDEN JR CATCHING UP ON 2020
Despite playing catch up after arriving in Miami via trade on the 5th September, Lynn Bowden Jr saw his first action in week 2 against the Bills, catching his first NFL pass from the slot. It was a whirlwind for Bowden as there was a much reduced pre-season and camp, both in Las Vegas and Miami. Trying to learn one system until early September and then getting on the field in another system come week 2 shows some of this kids versatility, and how excited this staff were to get him out there.
However, his first meaningful snaps came in week 12 against the Bengals, and after week 14 he saw a minimum of 50 offensive snaps per game. Catching four on four targets for 41 yards Lynn Bowden Jr started to show a little of what he’s about with 24 of his 41 yards being after the catch.
Of his 28 catches in the 2020 season, 12 went for first downs, and his 77.8% reception percentage ranked second among receivers behind Durham Smythe. Once again of the receivers he ranked behind only Adam Shaheen, Jakeem Grant, and Durham Smythe for YAC/reception.
And despite being thought of as a quick passing game slot guy, his average depth of target ranked 5th on the team for receivers with 20+ catches. And despite playing just 23 snaps in the first 11 weeks, he finished the season 5th in receptions. His 7 missed tackles forced on receptions rank him tied second on the team with DeVante Parker behind only Jakeem Grant.
And one last thing about Bowden’s performance in 2020…he was the only Dolphins player with 20+ targets with no drops. That’s right ZERO DROPS. He’s reliable, flashes elusively, and has big play ability. Oh and he’s also a good option as a wildcat or gadget QB as well as a running option out of the backfield.
So as we head in 2021 with increased expectation and optimism, Lynn Bowden Jr looks set to have a breakout year as the ideal foil for Jaylen Waddle and the perfect security blanket for Tua Tagovailoa.
If there’s one player on this roster that no one should ever count out it’s Lynn Bowden Jr. He has already come so far and if he wasn’t so intent on being great you could see him settling on his laurels. But coming from Youngstown, once named the 9th most dangerous city in America, you can tell Lynn is after more for his family than what he has achieved so far.
It’s not easy to get this far in football, and it’s even harder when you grow up like Lynn Bowden Jr.
In a world that polarises fans for or against one player or another, one team against another, this is a kid you can really root for. And from what we’ve seen so far I have a feeling we’re going to see great things from Lynn Bowden Jr in 2021 and beyond.