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Top 50 Players of 2016: Hard-Hitting LB Hasn't Slowed Down Despite Injuries

(Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman.)

Name: NaVorro Bowman
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Position: Linebacker
Height/Weight:6-0 / 242
Experience:6 seasons
College:Penn State

*2016 vs. Cowboys: *The Cowboys will travel up to Levi Stadium on Oct. 2 for a Week 4 matchup in San Francisco. It will be the team's first regular-season meeting at the stadium that opened in 2014.

What's the Deal: Bowman is one of the more underrated players in the NFL, but proved his worth last year when he returned from a gruesome knee injury he sustained in the 2013 NFC Championship Game in Seattle. After missing all of 2014, Bowman came back in a strong way, playing in all 16 games for the 49ers. He recorded an NFL-high 154 tackles, including 116 solo stops, helping him earn his third Pro Bowl selection. Bowman has often been overshadowed, even from his college days when he played alongside Sean Lee at Penn State. A third-round pick of the 49ers in 2010, Bowman has played with All-Pro Patrick Willis, who has since retired. Now that Bowman anchors the defense, the 49ers didn't seem to miss a step when he returned last year.

Expect This:If he's on the field, opponents will know it and feel it. Bowman might be one of the more physical linebackers in the game and has made a reputation for himself as a punishing hitter. Even in the Cowboys' preseason game with the 49ers last year, Bowman had a couple of big hits in his limited time on the field.
Previous Meetings: Bowman has only faced the Cowboys once in a regular-season game. Playing Dallas this year will be his first meeting with the Cowboys in five years. In the 2011 game up in San Francisco, Bowman had 10 tackles although the Cowboys were able to rally behind an injured Tony Romo to escape with a 27-24 overtime victory.  

Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:

  • Super competitive player. Loves to play the game. Is physically and mentally tough. Outstanding football intelligence. Leader on the field.
  • Nose for the ball. Quick to get off blocks. Makes plays along the line of scrimmage. Knows how to stay square and fit. Shows range to get to the outside against the run.
  • Wrap up tackler in the open field. When he gets in position can finish. Strong tackler. Shows strike and power. Contact balance is outstanding whether taking on a blocker or making a tackle.
  • Can beat blockers to the point of attack. Can run down plays from behind. Quick reactions. Good movement and change of direction. Plays with body control and balance. Rare to see him off balance or on the ground. Is able to turn and burst. Used on the blitz. Power to attack the pocket.
  • Consistent in the way he plays with his effort and intensity.
  • If he does have an area of concern it would be in pass coverage. Can handle things between the hashes but there are snaps where you see him struggle when the running back works wide on him. Has no problems in zone coverage with his drops and reactions. Is a playmaker. Will knock the ball loose when he tackles or get his hand up in the throwing lane to bat a pass down.
  • Is one of those players that never comes off the field.

The writers of have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.

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