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Dean Lowry NFL Draft scouting report

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Some mock drafts and projections have Lowry as high as the third round.

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Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Dean Lowry came to Northwestern as an unheralded recruit from Rockford, Illinois. He left as one of the most consistent four-year players of the Pat Fitzgerald era. After playing in all 13 games as a true freshman, Lowry added 15 pounds of muscle along with a wealth of knowledge and skills every offseason, and became one of the Wildcats' most important players as a junior and senior.

Lowry was invited to both the East-West Shrine Game and the NFL Scouting Combine. He impressed at both and will likely hear his name called in downtown Chicago this weekend.

Measurables, Combine results

40-yard dash Bench press reps Vertical jump Broad jump 3 cone drill 20-yard shuttle
4.87 sec. 30 32.5 in. 114 in. 7.26 sec. 4.38 sec.
Height Weight Arm length Hand size
6'6" 296 lbs 31 in. 9 3/8 in.

A complete breakdown of Lowry's NFL Combine performance can be found here.

And here's how Lowry compares historically to other defensive ends at the NFL Combine:

Strengths

- Teams love Lowry's versatility. He was primarily a 4-3 defensive end in college, but he would slide inside in passing situations, or even on standard downs against spread attacks. His best role in the NFL is likely as a 3-4 end, but he could also play both end and tackle in a 4-3 scheme, depending on the situation.

- Lowry is an intriguing athlete. His quickness didn't stand out as an edge rusher in college, but he moves really well for his size. He'd be one of the faster 3-4 ends in the NFL, and doesn't lack strength either. Much of his penetration into collegiate backfields came via a bull rush.

- Scouts and analysts gush over his work ethic, which is an off-field factor as well as a during-the-play asset. Lowry made many plays at Northwestern that were more a product of relentlessly pursuing ball-carriers and playing to the whistle than anything else.

Weaknesses

- Those short arms, man. It's crazy how much a single measurement that's out of a player's control can sink his stock, but Lowry's 31-inch arms are a real detriment. They could cause him to struggle to get off blocks at the next level.

- Lowry is a fairly one-dimensional pass rusher. He doesn't have the agility to get by NFL offensive tackles, and didn't really have a go-to finesse move in college. That's why his sack numbers are relatively pedestrian.

Highlights

One of Lowry's best games came against Nebraska. He was dogged in his rushing of Cornhusker quarterback Tommy Armstrong. On one play, Lowry lined up inside the tackles — as he often would on passing downs — and tracked Armstrong all the way to the sideline after being freed up by a stunt:

Earlier in the season, Lowry showed his smarts and play recognition on a game-changing snap against Duke:

Career stats

Games Tackles Tackles For Loss Sacks Fumbles Forced Fumbles Recovered Interceptions Passes Defended
2012 13 14 3 1 0 1 0 1
2013 11 33 7 4.5 2 1 2 5
2014 12 41 8 4 1 0 0 8
2015 13 52 15.5 3 0 1 1 7

Projections

There's really no consensus on when Lowry's name will get called this weekend — if it gets called at all. Some mock drafts have him as high as the third round, while others have him going undrafted. Rankings are similarly split:

ESPN — 280th overall, No. 25 defensive end
CBS Sports — 120th overall, No. 12 defensive end

As recently as last week, CBS had Lowry in the 200-plus range, but gave him a massive bump up into the fourth round range.

Outlook

In a way, Lowry seems like a fairly safe pick in the mid-to-late rounds. He has his limitations, which mean his ceiling is modest, but his versatility makes him a pretty good bet to hang around in the league as a rotation guy, or perhaps even a starter. That might be as a 3-4 defensive end or as a situational 4-3 defensive tackle. It might even be as a standard down 4-3 end. Either way, there's almost certainly a place for a guy like Lowry in the NFL.