The Vikings roster is now at 90 players, and with that, the offseason moves beyond the roster building phase and into the evaluation period. As we get our first glimpses of the Vikings roster in action over the summer, it’s time to evaluate which players should be candidates to make the final 53-man roster during training camp. Today we begin this process by discussing CB Tay Gowan.
Tay Gowan has been the underdog his entire NFL journey. He was a two-star recruit coming out of high school, and he began his college career at Miami (OH). Despite choosing a smaller school, Gowan still wasn’t able to earn much playing time, appearing in just one game during his freshman year in 2017 with just six defensive tackles.
After that season, he transferred to Butler Community College in Kansas to earn more playing time. That season ended quite successfully as he intercepted six passes and was named All-Jayhawk Conference.
That season finally put him on the radar of big D-1 programs, and he transferred to UCF before the 2019 season. During 2019, Gowan was one of the best cornerbacks in all of college football.
Among cornerbacks with at least 400 snaps, he was one of eight players to allow an opponent passer rating below 55.0. That list also includes Trevon Diggs, Jeff Okuda and Derek Stingley Jr. As a result, Gowan made the All-AAC second team.
However, before Gowan could build on that incredible 2019 season, COVID-19 decided to throw a monkey wrench into the 2020 season. The cornerback sat out that 2020 campaign like many other collegiate players, and he entered the 2021 NFL Draft without playing a senior season.
That 2019 season was mostly in the rearview mirror, with Gowan falling all the way to the sixth round before the Arizona Cardinals took him with the 223rd overall pick. Before the start of the 2021 season, he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he would play just two games before being waived in August 2022 and picked up by the Vikings and signed to the Minnesota practice squad.
Gowan will play three games for the Vikings in 2022, making 15 special teams appearances on the year. So what exactly should we expect to see from the 25-year-old CB in 2023?
How Govan can make the list
Gowan has a few things working in his favor heading into Vikings training camp. He has ideal length at the cornerback position, while his ball skills and excellent instincts have been evident every step of his NFL journey.
With a Vikings secondary that is very inexperienced, he could be in the third training camp he’s attended while spending almost a year in Minnesota, which can’t be said for many of the contenders on the roster. the spots.
If Gowen is going to make the final roster, he will need to show a balance in the secondary that sets him above the rest of the competition.
Obstacles on the way
While Gowan had an impressive 2019 season with UCF, it can’t be understated that the competition in the AAC isn’t the same as, say, the SEC, which helped land Okuda and Stingley as the third overall pick. It didn’t matter to Suce Gardner, the fourth overall pick in 2022, but Gowan has a few limitations that Gardner didn’t have.
Basically, this comes down to athleticism. Despite having a 4.49 40-yard dash (recorded at the UCF pro day), he can get lost covering routes against more mobile receivers. Also, he’s a little thin at 6’2 and 185 pounds, potentially needs to pack on a few pounds to really compete for playing time.
He also doesn’t offer as much versatility as the other linebackers competing for roster spots, playing 751 of his 791 snaps in 2019 at outside cornerback for UCF. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has loved his versatile linebackers in formations over the past two offseasons, so perhaps that could hurt Gowan.
With players like Booth and Evans combining for just 4 starts through the 2022 season, as well as rookie Blackmon, the Vikings will likely have to prioritize trying out their last depth CB pieces.
There will certainly be challenges along the way, but Gowan has his edge, and if he wasn’t up for the challenge, the former two-star recruit wouldn’t be in this position to begin with. I believe Gowan will be on the Vikings’ 53-man roster when Week 1 begins.
Josh Frey is a 2020 graduate of the College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com.. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, playing or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account. @Freyed_Chicken.