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The Bengals Fourth Pick (5th Rd.): Jeff Rowe, QB, Nevada

Pick Player Position School NOTES
1 Leon Hall CB Michigan The Bengals fulfill a need at cornerback drafting, perhaps, the second piece of a shutdown tandem of cornerbacks.
2 Kenny Irons RB Auburn The Bengals find a need to, possibly, replace the injury-prone, Chris Perry. Overthinking: Kenny Watson is let go and Irons is a good backup to Rudi while Chris Perry takes care of passing/third down duties.
3 Marvin White S TCU Has the appearance of being the guy to replace the departed Kevin Kaesviharn. Probably a good special teams guy with the project of replacing an aging Dexter Jackson in the future.
4 Jeff Rowe QB Nevada Addressing a need for a long-term backup quarterback to Carson Palmer.

This will continue our Bengals-centric draft analysis for the weekend. Once they are picked, we'll discuss 'em. Well have more in-depth discussions during the week.

The Bengals select, at #151 in the fifth round, Jeff Rowe, quarterback from Nevada.


Height: 6-5
Weight: 226
40-time: 4.91 (not sure if 40-time is really much use for a QB, but there you go)

College stats

2004: 12 starts, 2,633 yards passed, 15 TDs, 12 INTs, 58% completion.
2005: 11 starts, 2,925 yards passed, 21 TDs, 10 INTs, 62% completion.
2006: 12 starts, 1,907 yards passed, 17 TDs, 8 INTs, 64.7% completion.

This was a need. The Bengals lost Anthony Wright and had re-signed Doug Johnson. Drafting a young quarterback could be benefitial to the team... in that he could stick around with the team for a long time, learn the system and grow under one of the best quarterbacks in the league. But having a young backup for a while could help the team rather than signing retread quarterbacks to one-year contracts.


Strengths: Possesses prototypical height and adequate bulk. Is tall enough to scan the field from within the pocket. Has adequate arm strength. At his best throwing short-to-intermediate routes. Shows good touch underneath and puts adequate zip on deep out routes. Knows how to lead his receivers and shows good timing. Throws accurately on the run and has good experience in that regard. Possesses quick feet and can buy second chances within the pocket. He is a tough, aggressive runner that knows where the first down marker is when he takes off.

Weaknesses: Lacks ideal arm strength as a downfield passer. His deep ball has a tendency to sail. He comes from a passer-friendly offensive scheme and is not forced to make a lot of NFL-style progression reads. He does not make many vertical throws, either. Level of competition is mediocre at the collegiate level. Doesn't always make sound decisions under pressure and needs to do a better job of taking what the defense gives him at times. Can try to make too much happen and is inconsistent. Sustained a season-ending separated shoulder injury resulting in him taking a medical red-shirt during in 2003. Has been mostly healthy since, so durability is only a minor concern.

Overall: Rowe served as Nevada's backup during his true freshman season in 2002, saw action in six games, and completed 17 of 26 attempts for 138 yards and one touchdown. Was penciled in as Nevada's starter for 2003 and played in three games, throwing for 259 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions, while completing 22 of 47 attempts prior to sustaining a season-ending separated right (throwing) shoulder. He received a medical redshirt that year before returning for his redshirt sophomore season in 2004, when he started all 12 games and threw for 2,633 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a 58-percent completion percentage. Rowe again started every game in 2005 (11), when he completed 62-percent of his attempts for 2,925 yards, 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In 2006, Rowe started all 12 of 13 games he played (missed San Jose State game due to injury) and completed 64.7-percent of his passes for 1,907 yards, 17 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. During his career, Rowe has also rushed for 560 net yards and 13 touchdowns.

Rowe is a developmental prospect with ideal size. He is a confident leader and an accurate short-to-intermediate passer. However, Rowe comes from a passer-friendly "Pistol" offensive scheme that did not force him to make a lot of progression reads or downfield throws. He possesses just adequate arm strength and mobility. In our opinion, Rowe has value in the fourth-or-fifth round as a developmental quarterback prospect for teams that operate in a West Coast offensive scheme.

On the Clock draft ranked Rowe as the 11th best quarterback in the draft.


Jeff Rowe attended McQueen High School in Reno, Nevada where he served as the school’s backup quarterback as a junior when the team won the state championship. He took over the starting job as a senior, completing 118 of 234 pass attempts for 2,059 yards and 27 touchdowns. He led the team to a 12-2 record and a state championship game appearance. He accepted a scholarship to the University of Nevada where he served as the team’s backup quarterback as a true freshman. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown on the season. He began the next year as the starter, completing 22 of 47 attempts for 259 yards and 1 touchdown with 3 interceptions before separating his shoulder, effectively ending his season. Jeff received a medical redshirt for the 2003 season. As a sophomore, Jeff started all 12 games, completing 230 of 394 passes for 2,633 yards and 15 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. As a junior, Jeff completed 241 of 389 attempts for 2,925 yards and 21 touchdowns (both career highs) with 10 interceptions. He was named second team all-WAC for his performance as a junior. As a senior, Jeff completed 172 of 266 passes for 1,907 yards and 17 touchdowns with just 8 interceptions.


Jeff Rowe has been the starting quarterback at Nevada for the past three seasons, having missed the majority of the 2003 season due to a separated shoulder. He is a great field general with good height for an NFL quarterback, although he is a bit on the skinny side. He has good field vision and does a good job of going through his progression. He has good touch on his passes and is accurate on short to intermediate range routes. He is quick to recognize the blitz and get rid of the football. He isn’t the fastest quarterback around, but he does have the ability to avoid the rush and make an accurate throw on the run or make a play with his feet when needed. Jeff lacks great arm strength and has a tendency to force balls into coverage at times. He operated primarily out of the shotgun at Nevada and will need to adjust to playing under center and reading defenses as he drops back. He improved his stock with a good week at the East-West Shrine Bowl. He was named offensive MVP at the conclusion of the game. Jeff Rowe does have some upside, but he may need to be in the right offense to be successful. He looks to be a second day pick in the 2007 NFL draft.

Crazy info from


After three seasons of trying to move up the depth chart, Rowe took over the starting job as a junior. He struggled behind the helm, as he was replaced in each of the first six games of the 2004 season before settling in comfortably behind center. He now ranks fifth in school history in passing yardage (7,862), seventh in touchdown passes (55), second in pass completions (682) and pass attempts (1,122), and fourth in total offense yardage (8,413).

A local product, Rowe led McQueen High School to the state title game in 2001 and was part of the 2000 state championship team. He threw for 2,059 yards and 27 touchdowns, completing 118 of 234 passes (50.4 percent) in leading the Lancers to a 12-2 mark in his only season as a starter in 2001.

Rowe saw limited action in six games at Nevada in 2002. He hit on 17 of 26 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown, but lost 35 yards on 11 carries to finish his freshman season with 103 yards in total offense. He played in three of the team's first four games in 2003, starting twice. But a separated shoulder would force him to miss the rest of the season, as Rowe received a medical hardship. He gained 259 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions on 22 of 47 passing, amassing 274 yards in total offense.

The Wolf Pack struggled to a 5-7 record in 2004. Rowe was benched in each of the team's first six games after opening those contests as a starter, but settled down to throw for at least 245 yards in four of his final five games. He connected on 230 of 394 passes (58.4 percent) for 2,633 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He rushed 77 times for 129 yards (1.7 avg.) and three scores, finishing with 2,752 yards in total offense.

The 2005 season saw Rowe come in to his own as a junior. He was a second-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection while starting every game in 2005. He ranked 21st in the nation in total offense, averaging 264.08 yards per game. He completed 241 of 389 passes (62.0 percent) for 2,925 yards, 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He ranked third on the team with 244 yards and six scores on 119 carries.

Rowe earned team MVP honors in 2006, the first quarterback since David Neill in 2000 to earn the award. He missed the San Jose State game with a hamstring injury, but gained 1,907 yards with 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 172 of 266 passing (64.7 percent). He ranked fourth on the team with 208 yards and four scores on 93 carries (2.2 avg.). He amassed 2,115 yards in total offense while guiding the team to an 8-5 record and a berth in the MPC Computers Bowl.

In 45 games at Nevada, Rowe started 38 times. He hit on 682 of 1,122 pass attempts (60.8 percent) for 7,862 yards, 55 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. He carried 317 times for 561 yards (1.8 avg.) and 13 scores. In 1,439 plays, Rowe amassed 8,413 yards in total offense. He also recorded five solo tackles.


Positives: Has excellent height and a lanky, raw-boned build that can add more bulk without losing his agility … Possesses a strong lower body that allows him to break tackles and the upper body muscle definition to put good power behind his throws … Needs to work on driving back from center (used mostly in a shotgun), but has the nimble feet to get to his pass set point when operating in standard formation … Has a bit of a circle in his over-the-top delivery (little like Kerry Collins), but shows a fluid release with decent quickness … Possesses a strong lower body that allows him to break tackles and the upper body muscle definition to put good power behind his throws … Has smooth feet getting to his pass drop point … Moves back with good quickness and balance to get into throwing position … Demonstrates active footwork, whether in a three- or five-step drop … Will never be confused for being Dan Marino "cat-quick" with his release, but when he gets rid of the ball, it comes off his hand with a tight, circular motion that is fairly smooth, showing consistency in generating a tight spiral … Can zip the short-to-intermediate passes with good velocity when needed and also knows when to take a bit off his throws … His long passes hang a bit at times, but when firing underneath, he puts good zip and touch on his tosses … Conscious of placing his long throws on the outside shoulder of his target and does a good job of anticipating the receivers coming out of their breaks … Doesn't throw deep as often as he should, but knows how to put touch on his throws to keep it away from the defender … On intermediate routes, he shows good location and touch and is also pretty accurate on fades in the 25-30-yard range … Has much better touch in the short-to-intermediate areas than when going long, but when given time to plant his feet and step into the throw, he can hit the wide open target in stride … Developed a better feel and timing on crossing routes, matching his anticipation skills when working underneath … When he gets a hot read, he is better at anticipating the receiver's break … Will move out of the pocket if it means completing the pass and is also quite effective rolling out to throw from the right hash … Has that uncanny feel for pocket pressure, getting the ball off quickly on timing routes … Has the leg strength to gain valid yardage on the naked bootleg and has continued to improve his feel for stepping up in the pocket … Will never be a dangerous threat to pull it down and run with the ball, but based on 13 touchdowns rushing, he certainly has the leg power to break tackles.

Negatives: Not a threat to hurt a defense with his feet, but can gain valid yardage if given a free lane to run … Shows enough nimbleness in the pocket to elude the bull rush, but lacks second-level quickness to take the ball to the house … Needs to build to top acceleration on the move and is best served staying in the pocket rather than try and create with his feet … Shows decent football intelligence, but is prone to costly mistakes … Needs to be coached on the field in order to get the best out of his ability and lacks creativity in the pocket … Must show better ability to call audibles and adjust to the coverage, along with doing a better job of being aware of ball security … Could be more vocal, but that is not his nature … While he is not careless, he does tend to hold on to the ball too long at times trying to make the play rather than throwing the ball away … Prone to that bad decision throwing into coverage … When Rowe reverts to a somewhat sidearm delivery with a low release, he will generally throw into a crowd or have his passes batted down … When trying to go long, he shows a bit of a windup and that results in him taking longer than necessary in attempts to get the ball away … His long tosses just lack consistent touch, but it is more due to a lack of control, resulting from the long arc in his windup … Gets inconsistent when pressured out of the pocket, but is more effective throwing from the right hash than the left … It sometimes looks as if he does not see the entire field, especially when he locks on to his primary target … Will have to work on his footwork driving back from center (good, just lacks reps), as the team utilized a shallow shotgun formation.

Compares To: Jon Kitna, Detroit Lions … Rowe flew under the radar screen and might still be on the draft board late in the second day, but there is something about his continued progress that really warrants further evaluation … If the Wolf Pack would only have let him air out the ball more often, teams might be better able to see that he has the ability to make all the throws. He will need a bit of time to adjust to playing under center (team used a shallow shotgun), but he has the athletic ability to be a productive player with patient coaching.

Injury Report

2003: Suffered a right shoulder separation vs. Nevada-Las Vegas (10/4), missing the final seven games.

2006: Left the Hawaii game (10/8) in the fourth quarter with a hamstring pull that would force him to sit out the following week vs. San Jose State, and was lifted in two other games as a precaution due to the injury.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.82 in the 40-yard dash … 1.57 10-yard dash … 375-pound bench press … 455-pound squat … 340-pound hang clean … 30-inch vertical jump … 8-foot-11 broad jump … 4.09 20-yard shuttle … 33-inch arm length … 10-inch hands … Right-handed.

Combine: 57.0 mph in Ball Speed drill, fourth-best among quarterbacks who participated … 4.91 in 40-yard dash … 29½-inch vertical jump … 9-foot-6 broad jump … 4.42 20-yard shuttle … 7.17 three cone drill.