Draft season is the time of year where urban legends run rampant and various falsities catch on like wildfire. One of the urban legends is "one year wonder." Another urban legend is Patrick Peterson weighing 225 pounds and being the best prospect in a generation. In reality, at the Combine, Patrick Peterson will weigh closer to 205 pounds and is an excellent prospect. "Once in a generation" is probably not accurate and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. For now though, I will briefly delve into the "one year wonder" debate and make the following thesis: If you attempt to label Bowers, and to a lesser extent Fairley, as "one year wonders," you are ignorant of history and context.
Freshman year: Tackles: 19 Solo: 12 Assists: 7 TFL: 7 Sacks: 3.5
Sophomore year: Tackles: 34 Solo: 22 Assists: 12 TFL: 6 Sacks 1.0
Junior Year: Tackles: 57 Solo 32 Assists: 25 TFL: 9.5 Sacks: 4.5
Freshman Year: Tackles: 19 Solo: 10 Assists: 9 TFL: 6.5 Sacks: 2.0
Sophomore Year: Tackles: 30 Solo: 16 Assists: 14 TFL: 11 Sacks: 6.5
Freshman Year: Tackles: 16 Solo: 10 Ast: 6
Sophomore Year: Tackles: 52 Solo: 23 Assists: 29 TFL: 3.5 Sacks: 2.5
Junior Year: Tackles: 23 Solo: 16 Assists: 7 TFL: 8.5 Sacks: 3
Junior Year: Tackles: 64 Solo: 22 Assists: 42 TFL: 8.5 Sacks: 3
Freshman Year: Tackles: 9 Solo: 4 Assists: 5 TFL: 1.5
Sophomore Year: Tackles: 51 Solo: 31 Assists: 20 TFL: 9.5 Sacks: 7
Freshman Year: Tackles: 37 Solo: 21 Assists:16 TFL: 8 Sacks: 1
Sophomore Year: Tackles: 46 Solo: 27 Assists: 19 TFL: 10.5 Sacks: 3.0
Freshman Year (Community College): In seven games had 63 tackles, 9 TFL, and 7 sacks
Sophomore Year: Tackles: 28 Solo: 14 Assists: 14 TFL: 3.5 Sacks: 1.5
Context: If you are judging Bowers and Fairley's freshman, sophomore, and junior year equally, you are ignorant of the concept of DEVELOPMENT. You almost never hear of freshman or sophomores having dominant All-American performances, especially defensive linemen. Bowers and Fairley are juniors, and should be judged as developing prospects. They should not be judged as finished products who must be evaluated in a small box when they were 18, 19, or 20 years old. Bowers and Fairley's production, when placed in context, is in line with many other first round defensive players of years past. I acknowledge that my point is most clearly made with regard to Bowers more than Fairley. Fairley, though, was basically a freshman during his sophomore year against the toughest competition in the country, and still performed decently.
Feel free and critique Bowers and Fairley when it comes to their measureables, intangibles and technique. However, if you are going to criticize their production as one year wonder-like, you will come across to me as ignorant.