By the time his Kentucky career came to a close, Lynn Bowden Jr. became the most dynamic playmaker in college football, earning Paul Hornung Award honors as the nation’s most versatile player and being named a first-team All-American as an all-purpose standout.
Now, he’s planning to take that elite versatility to Las Vegas where he plans to “wake the world up” as a Raider.
“I feel like I’m going to wake the world up,” Bowden said in an interview with ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez, who published a feature on the Youngstown, OH native on Wednesday. “It’s only a matter of time.”
While Bowden is – and always has been – confident in his own abilities, those signing off on his paychecks with the Raiders were confident in the former Wildcat superstar from the moment they met him during the pre-draft process.
In the feature, Gutierrez recalls the first moment Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden – Las Vegas’ general manager and head coach, respectively – met with Bowden, where they decided to drop a “mini-install” on him.
“Jon spat it out quickly and challenged him,” Mayock told ESPN. “Then we put Bowden on the board, and to our surprise, Jon drilled him, and he spat all of our information right back at us. All of our verbiage — he understood all of our concepts. He walked out of the room.”
After Bowden left the room, the Raider decision-makers knew they had to have him ini Las Vegas.
“Mayock and Gruden stared at each other,” Gutierrez wrote, “before someone uttered, “That’s a freakin’ Raider.”‘
“That’s what we’re looking for,” Mayock told ESPN later.
After the NFL Combine, Bowden sat down with the Raiders on a Zoom video call, where he knew it was the “right fit” for him.
“It was every coach on the staff on the Zoom call with me,” Bowden said. “I knew it was the right fit for me. Coach Gruden shot it straight with me. He liked me. That’s what it was. He said he wants to do a lot of things with me. [Be] ready. I’m ready to get on board.”
After drafting the star playmaker in the third round, the Raiders now plan on using Bowden in a ‘joker’ role, one that allows him to take on multiple jobs and make a difference all over the field.
He may have a running back tag next to his name officially, but Vegas plans to milk his versatility for all its worth.
“Ultimately, he’ll probably be what we call a ‘joker,’ which is what I love in Jon’s offense,” Mayock told ESPN. “It’s somebody who can do multiple jobs. But day one, he’s going to come in and be a running back.
“In the SEC two years ago, he caught 60-70 passes as a slot [receiver]. Last year, as you guys know, he was quarterback/wildcat … we think he’s one of the most athletic, tougher guys in this year’s draft. We’re going to train him to be running back. If he’s able to do that job, we’ll be able [to] do some other things with him — move him around, let him catch the football.”
For the complete ESPN feature on Bowden, check it out here.