Can Tay Gowan Make It in the NFL?

Coming out of the University of Central Florida comes a player with an interesting decision to declare for the Draft. Tay Gowan is a cornerback that transferred from a community college to play for the Knights. After only one year of tape of FBS play, he decided it was best for him to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. 

Gowan initially was with the Miami Redhawks, but after a few years of not getting any playing time he decided to transfer to Butler Community College in order to try and get a fresh start on his collegiate career. After having a phenomenal season with them he entered the transfer portal again to try his luck at another school. He then declared for UCF and played the entire 2019 season.

The Good About Gowan

Courtesy: UCF Knights

Gowan is a corner who is well versed in bail-press zone coverage. He does a great job of understanding routes and where he needs to position himself to make the best play on the ball. When the play is extended he still stays in the right position and holds his space in his zone. Gowan does a great job of keeping his eye on the receiver while also keeping an eye into the backfield.

He is raw but has shown some promise in how he plays in man coverage. As the season went on he did better at throwing a punch, controlling where he wanted the receiver to go, and pushing him to the inside. Gowan is a physical corner and he likes to use his hands, which sometimes backfires. His length is fabulous and is ideal for his position. He also shows great ball skills. Due to his length he has a good catch radius and he knows how to high point the ball. 

The Bad About Gowan

Courtesy: Orlando Sentinel
Courtesy: Orlando Sentinel

While Gowan has the length necessary to play corner or safety he does not exactly have the best weight for either position. When it comes to jamming in press coverage he doesn’t really do that consistently well. He for the most part gets blown over by receivers when they get physical. He lacks burst and good speed. Gowan struggles to keep up with faster receivers and has to result to using his hands to pull himself closer.

When playing man, Gowan falls for jab steps too easily. Even slight head movements can cause him to whiff on his assignment, forcing him to have to try and recover, which he does not do well. He struggles on keeping up with receivers when they break on their routes, especially on curl routes and in/outs. Gowan does not add anything valuable to the run support.  He is not a corner that you will see being the first guy to initiate contact unless the fight is brought to him on the outside.

Final Thoughts

Courtesy: UCF Knights

Gowan has a lot of work to do and some weight to gain if he wants to be an effective defensive back at the next level. His size puts him at a weird position. He has the length to make the transition to safety, but he lacks the bulk and the athleticism to play the position. While he also has the length to be a corner, he does not have the best traits to transfer into the pros. Granted, Gowan is still raw. He has only played one year of FBS play, so there is room to develop. Since he is a project player with a lot of work to do, my grade for him right now is in the fifth round.  


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