Dean Lowry, DE, Northwestern: 2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report


Northwestern was a fun team to watch last year.  They won games the old fashion way, with a strong defense and a commitment to the running game.  While the defense was very good, it didn’t really have a lot of big name stars.

One of the “stars” they did have was defensive end Dean Lowry.  He might not have received much national attention, due to low sack totals, but he looks to be a quality NFL prospect.

Combine Numbers

40 yard dash – 4.87 seconds

Bench press – 30 reps of 225 lbs

Vertical jump – 32.5 inches


Lowry is a good run stopper.  He holds strong at the point of attack, making I very difficult for opponents to drive him back one on one.  He’s also very good a crashing down and stopping running backs who were trying to go up the middle.

Lowry will bring versatility with him to the NFL level.  He can play defensive end in both a 3-4 or a 4-3 system, with he ability to move inside as a three technique defensive tackle in a 4-3.  In fact he looks to be at his best as a pass rusher when he is moved inside.

Lowry plays a technically sound brand of football.  He breaks down and reads the play in the backfield, putting himself in position to defend cut backs and misdirections.  He will also get his hands up in the passing lane when he doesn’t get to the quarterback.

Last, but certainly not least, Lowry has really nice physical tools to work with.  He has speed of the snap to beat his opponent with initial quickness.  He’s also plenty strong enough to play in the trenches at the next level.  He is a surprisingly good overall athlete.


While Lowry has good 6’6 size, his arms are only 31 inches long which is pretty short in comparison to most NFL linemen.  This makes is easier for blockers to control him and harder for his to get free and make a play on the ball carrier.

These short arms may be part of the reason that Lowry isn’t a very good pass rusher.  He doesn’t have any great moves to get past his blocker and into the quarterbacks face.  He looked better in this area as a defensive tackle, but Lowry will never be a great edge rusher.

Lowry looks pretty stiff at times.  One good juke move will freeze him and he doesn’t have the ability to recover and make a play.  He also lacks great closing speed.  On some occasions I saw the QB was just able to out run him to the corner and pick up yards.


Lowry has an NFL future as a rotation defensive lineman who can help stop the run.  His versatility and athleticism are qualities teams will love to see and a big reason I think he’s a safe bet to stick around in the NFL for a while.

Often times people get caught up on pass rushing ability, valuing that ability and nothing else in a rotational DE.  However, there is still great value in being able to contribute as a really good run defender.  That’s why I think Lowry will bring really good late round value to whoever drafts him.

Look for him to go in the second half of day three and contribute to a defense as early as next year.