Raiders training camp has not been filled with a buzz about sensational rookie Lynn Bowden Jr. Even though he’s not receiving rave reviews immediately, the organization is not concerned with his development.
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock recently spoke with season ticket holders about the development of the team’s young talent. When the Raiders picked Bowden, they did not expect him to be a day one starter. They saw plenty of long-term promise in their first meeting with him at the NFL Combine.
“What can you get done in 15 minutes to learn more about a kid? Jon (Gruden) does a great job with the coaching staff, putting stuff on the board, teaching them our verbiage, going to something else, showing video,” said Mayock.
“In the last five minutes we kind of come back to what we taught em about our verbiage and our plays to see if they can replicate the conversation we had 10 minutes earlier in our verbiage. To our surprise, Bowden sat there and spat it out, just spat it all right back out at us. Jon just started laughing. Jon was going nuts. That was kinda cool. That was the beginning of us trying to peel away the layers of this Bowden-cat.”
After watching his diverse set of skills on film, they believed he could primarily play running back at the next level.
“He rushed for 1,400-1,500 yards at quarterback. Sure, a lot of it’s zone read, but he’s running quarterback counter, quarterback power, which are traditional I-formation plays for a tailback,” said Mayock.
The Raiders are asking him to become a traditional running back in a new offensive system. They believe he’s up for the challenge and they’re willing to give him time to learn and grow.
“Like I’ve said with all the rookies, let’s take a step back and try to understand what he’s trying to do. Even though he’s coming from the SEC and he’s got heavy production at two positions, we’re asking him to play a completely different position. We’re putting a lot on his plate,” Mayock said.
“He’s got running back plays. He’s got punt returns. We’re going to ask him to catch the ball, so we’re asking an awful lot of this young man. Any time you ask a college player to play a different position it’s called a projection and you’ve got to give them some time. That’s the way I feel about Lynn. Lynn has come in and done everything we’ve asked. We just have to continue to give him the time to learn to convert to a running back primarily. And he’s never been that before.”