Why did the New York Giants sign veteran cornerback Zack Bowman, a reserve most of his career, this offseason? Let's look at Bowman today as we continue our player-by-player breakdown of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp in July.
2013 Season In Review
A reserve cornerback for most of his six-year career, Bowman got seven starts for the Chicago Bears in 2013. The only season he started more games was 2009, when he started 12 times. Bowman intercepted three passes last season, and Giants fans should remember the one he took to the house against Eli Manning. Quarterbacks completed 68.8 percent of passes when targeting Bowman, but ended up with only a 70.3 passer rating.
With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond already in the fold, and Trumaine McBride returning to join Prince Amukamara, the signing of Bowman to a one-year deal late in the free agency period seemed surprising, as it looked unnecessary. The four-game suspension of Jayron Hosley may have been part of the reason. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Bowman has played almost exclusively on the outside as a corner and offers the Giants quality depth there. The other thing he brings is a reputation a willing and quite capable player on coverage units. The Giants were awful in coverage of kickoffs and punts a year ago, relying on too many players unfamiliar with the task.
Back when the Giants were rumored to be interested in Bowman, I reached out to the folks at SB Nation's Bears web site, Windy City Gridiron, to find out why the Giants might want him. Here is what WCG's Dane Noble told me:
Bowman is one of those players who had always done very well on special teams, but not quite enough on defense to keep a starting DB spot.
On special teams, he's a guy that is ALWAYS around the ball on kickoff and punt coverage... if his name isn't being called specifically for making the tackle, he's still a part of helping make that tackle happen.
On defense, he was always a solid backup, and had a few chances to lock down a starting position... Lovie Smith gave him a few chances to start and make some things happen, but that defense was so productive that Bowman couldn't quite rise to the level of play that everyone else was at. When inserted into the starting lineup due to injuries, he was serviceable, but just couldn't quite get over that hump of being an everyday guy.
His value definitely comes on ST's, and providing depth as a defensive back, but he can be a liability in the passing game when put on an island. In run support, he's good, and can thrive when part of a gang mentality.
Overall, I'd say he's a really good ST guy, and a solid depth player on defense.