clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

James Cowser, Southern Utah DE: 2016 NFL Draft Profile

The career FCS leader for sacks and tackles for loss, James Cowser just wants a chance to show he is NFL worth. What team will give him that opportunity?

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

James Cowser

College: Southern Utah

Position: Defensive End

Height/Weight: 6-3/248

College Stats: 294 tackles, 80 tackles for loss, 42.5 sacks.

One of the most productive players in FCS history, Cowser leaves the Thunderbirds with FCS records for career sacks (42.5) and tackles for loss (80). Cowser was very lightly recruited from his home state of Utah due to his lack of weight, playing at defensive line despite weighing just over 200 pounds.

Cowser chose Southern Utah over an offer from Weber State and redshirted the 2009 season. He then spent two years serving an LDS mission before starting his career in earnest in 2012. From his redshirt freshman season, it was clear that Cowser would be a player to watch. He earned Freshman All-American honors in 2012, Second Team All-Big Sky honors in 2013, Second Team All-American in 2014, and FCS ADA Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2015.


Cowser is a hard worker that plays like the undersized prospect looking to earn a position on the team. He is an older, more mature player that understands the amount of time needed to focus on the mental side of the game. He was a leader for the Southern Utah team during his time with the program.

He has great quickness, finishing first among defensive linemen in the ever popular three-cone drill. Cowser has no trouble switching sides and not missing a step. His footwork is impressive from his time on the basketball court, showing an ability to cut inside of a tackle after showing an outside rush.

Cowser is a team player and willing to play on special teams if he cannot find a role in the defensive rotation.


Cowser has odd body proportions, scaring some NFL teams off completely. He does not have the type of stride seen by the top pass rushers in the NFL. His position seems to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, but has to prove he can handle all of the responsibilities of that position.

He is yet another FCS player that will have to prove that he can handle an significant upgrade in his level of competition.

Where will Cowser get drafted?

Despite some NFL scouts seeing him as a special teams ace instead of a player in the defensive rotation, he should find a home in the fifth or sixth round. Cowser brings too many intangibles to the table that are hard to find in the later rounds.

My prediction is Cleveland with the #161 pick of the fifth round.