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Sophomore predictions: Tyus Bowser

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

This series evaluates Baltimore’s 2017 NFL Draft class and identifies the potential of each player as the group enters their sophomore season.

The first sophomore prediction piece examined cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Next up is the Ravens’ second pick of the draft, linebacker Tyus Bowser. Bowser was selected by Baltimore in the second round with the 47th pick. Despite only playing in eight games as a senior at Houston, Bowser produced 47 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, four pass defenses and a forced fumble, earning him All-Conference Second Team honors in the American Athletic Conference.

Entering the draft, Bowser was praised for his overall athleticism in rushing the passer and in coverage. His ability flashed early on as a rookie with the Ravens. In Week 2 against the Browns, Bowser had both a sack and an interception. With this performance, Bowser won the Pepsi Rookie of the Week award.

After a successful start to the season, the difficulties of transitioning to the NFL began to show for the rookie linebacker. Bowser would only record two more sacks for the entire year, one against the Dolphins in Week 8 and another in Week 14 versus the Steelers. Bowser finished the season with nine total tackles, three sacks, one interception and three pass defenses.

Year two for Bowser could be a huge turning point. With a year of NFL experience under his belt, the game will slow down a lot, allowing Bowser to unleash his potential on the field. Hopefully, Bowser will take a similar path as fellow linebacker Matthew Judon. Judon showed promise with four sacks as a rookie in 2016. He doubled his sack total in his sophomore season (second best on the team), becoming a key member of Baltimore’s defense in 2017. Judon expressed hope that Bowser can take a similar step forward this year.

Bowser will continue to contribute to special teams in 2018, but his snaps should increase dramatically on defense. Terrell Suggs will turn 36 in October, and while still playing at a high level, his career is nearing the end. Down the stretch in 2017, Suggs was exhausted from playing the majority of snaps on defense. Baltimore would greatly benefit if Bowser can improve and help carry the workload from Suggs, Judon and Za’Darius Smith. I predict that Bowser will play an integral role on defense this season, possibly finishing with the second or third most sacks on the team.