With the Buccaneers likely in the market for a defensive end this April, PewterReport.com chose to feature an edge rusher at both opening practices. While the East West Shrine event typically consists of late-round draftees, a few players might be worth keeping an eye on as potential late targets for Tampa Bay.
At the West Team’s practice, Southern Utah’s James Cowser drew a lot of attention due to his accolades in college and invite to compete in the Shrine Bowl. The defensive end broke the Big Sky conference record for tackles for losses in 2014 (28.5), previously held by Jared Allen. In his senior season, he recorded 11 sacks and 17 TFLs, and was voted Big Sky First-Team Defense for the second time in his career. Cowser, who arrived at Southern Utah as a redshirt freshman in 2009, spent two years on a church mission and didn’t return to play football until 2012.
Below is the transcript from his interview.
James Cowser, DL Southern Utah
(On his first day)
“It’s fun. This is way better than Utah weather, but it’s fun getting back out here and playing football again.”
(On his transition from small school to NFL)
“I just have to do me. I can make the plays no matter who it is. I’m fast. No matter who’s in front of me, I can do it, so I’m just trying to come out here and show it. That’s really the truth.”
(On breaking Jared Allen’s tackle for loss record in Big Sky conference)
“I think it said a lot about our defense, putting me in position to get places. The coaches were good to me. We had good defense the whole time I was there.”
(On success because of system or natural instincts)
“Getting in the right spot at the right time, instincts and coaching altogether. You cant break a record strictly off instincts. You have to know what you’re doing and have people around you who can set you up to do that.”
(On returning from Church Mission in 2012 and posting great numbers)
“I was third string in the spring, so I had to build my way up and by the first game I was starting.”