2015 NFL Draft Spotlight: Utah DB Eric Rowe
Turron Davenport | 4/9/2015, 4:46 p.m. | Updated on 4/9/2015, 4:46 p.m.
BALTIMORE Being able to contribute at multiple positions is an attribute that the Baltimore Ravens treasure. That is especially the case on the back end of the defense. The two safeties (Matt Elam and Terrence Brooks) that they selected in the last two years of the NFL Draft possess cornerback traits. Both of these players have been asked to drop down in the box and cover slot receivers.
One defensive back that has been tied to the Ravens is Utah’s Eric Rowe. Rowe played safety during his first three years at the University of Utah. He switched to corner going into his senior year. The move was made as a result of his ability to cover slot receivers in sub packages.
Getting a taste of life on the island was an experience that Rowe really liked. If you ask him, he prefers to play corner over safety but is willing play either position for whatever team that selects him. “I think of myself as a corner but obviously I can do both. If a team needs me at safety, I am there. I have the added value that I can play both spots at any given time,” Rowe said. “I feel like I have had more success at corner. I love the challenge of going one on one with receivers. Being on the island is more of a challenge and I love it.”
The mindset that is required to play corner and safety requires two different thought processes. Rowe enjoys having the flexibility to play both positions and has the mindset that is needed for either position.
“I can change mindsets pretty fast. The USC game for example, I played safety the whole first half. Then in the second half, I played corner which requires a whole different mindset,” Rowe continued; “From safety, you get to view the whole formation. As plays develop, you have to use your peripheral vision. You have to see every route. As a corner, it changes because you only have to see half of the field. You can also use the sideline for help.”
Rowe has a 6-1, 205 pound frame which supports being able to excel at both positions. He knows how to use his hands to redirect receivers at the line of scrimmage. Rowe is able to make receivers move laterally as opposed to getting a clean release. This disrupts the timing. It may not seem like Rowe has an aggressive mindset when talking to him, but his tone changes and his eyes light up when he talks about how much he likes to jam receivers.
“I keep my eyes on the receiver’s hips. When he releases, I like to get a good punch on him and flatten him out. Once I get a hand to the chest it’s over. It feels good to be right on target and watch them go back a bit.” Rowe said; “ I have long arms so when I press, I can reach out to them and get a jam on them first.”