Da'Quan Bowers is a terrific football player. A defensive end with top 5 talent who slipped in the draft because of a knee injury. That injury is a definite concern, despite the Bucs' insistence that he won't need surgery and that he'll be fine after his rehab. They could actually be right on both counts, but that doesn't mean Bowers' knee injury means nothing. Injury expert Will Carroll noted a couple of days ago that teams are really concerned about Bowers' knee and some wouldn't draft him at all. Interestingly enough, he compares Clayborn's problems to nothing more than a stinger. I'm not at all concerned about his Erb's Palsy, but Bowers does concern me more. it's clear that Bowers' knee injury is bad, but the Bucs seem confident they can at least manage the knee injury. They've done so with Kellen Winslow's injury and with Cadillac Williams' injury as well.
Here's another more relevant nugget about Bower's knee that the same Will Carroll revealed in Football Outsiders' second-day draft chat:
"It's not good. He has little or no cartilage and required surgery called a chondroplasty, where they shaped the cartilage at the end of the bone. In a couple years (or maybe tomorrow), he might need microfracture. The guy that comes to mind is Tony Brackens. I forget what he had, but he had a short, effective career. The risk was big in the top half of the first, but I think he's way oversold at this stage."
Also keep in mind that Bowers played on this same knee through at least part of the 2010 season, and that he was amazingly productive with it. Putting 2 and 2 together it seems like Bowers' problems won't keep him off the field, but that his longevity is in question.
So here's what I'll say: in 4 years time, we'll be talking about the amazing steal Da'Quan Bowers was. He'll have had 4 terrific years at left defensive end, shutting down the run and providing some much needed pass rush. But at some point his knee will start acting up and giving him problems, and his career simply won't be all that long. Does that mean this was a bad selection? Absolutely not, the Bucs are getting 4 or 5 years worth of terrific production for a very low cost. That's more than you can say for a lot of second-round picks. But 4 years from now they'll have to start looking for a replacement, unless his knee really does make a remarkable turnaround.