Todd Bowles’ History Of Developing Pass Rushers Is Not Good

April 13th, 2023

Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

Joe has noticed a lot of folks pining for the Bucs to draft an edge rusher this month. Those same folks may want to reassess.

Oh, Joe’s not saying the Bucs don’t need a pass rusher. They very much do! But Bucs coach Todd Bowles’ history of developing rookie pass rushers? Well, it ain’t good.

In fact, it’s downright terrible.

Now Joe is specifically discussing rookie outside linebackers and rookie defensive ends Bowles took under his wing ever since Bowles first became a defensive coordinator in Arizona in 2013.

Since, through his days coaching the Jets and the Bucs, Bowles has yet to develop a rookie outside linebacker or rookie defensive end drafted in the fourth round or higher into a double-digit sack guy.

How bad is Bowles’ batting average with rookie outside linebackers and rookie defensive ends? Bowles is 0-6 with those positions drafted in the fourth round or higher in raising the young pups to reach double-digit sacks in a season.

(Yes, Joe knows disgruntled Devin White had nine sacks in his second season playing for Bowles. But he’s an inside linebacker. Again, Joe specifically researched outside linebackers and defensive ends.)

Let’s take a look:


Alex Okafor: A fourth-round pick. Drafted as a defensive end, Okafor was moved to outside linebacker in 2014 and had eight sacks in Bowles’ last year in Arizona. Since, Okafor has put up Joe Tryon-Shoyinka-like numbers.

Kareem Martin: Third-round pick. His numbers were worse than JTS’s and he’s out of football.


Lorenzo Mauldin: Third-round pick. Drafted as an OLB, he had four sacks as a rookie. He played in 11 games in 2016 and is out of football.

Leonard Williams: First-round pick. This is the closest Bowles has been to developing a stud pass rusher. Williams, drafted No. 6 overall as a defensive end, had seven sacks his second year. He didn’t match that until he signed with the Giants and they moved him to tackle in 2020 and he had 11.5 sacks.


Joe Tryon-Shoyinka: First-round pick playing outside linebacker. Had four sacks in each of his first two seasons.

Logan Hall: Just 2.5 sacks for the second round pick.

Yes, the Bucs need a pass rush. Badly. But given how Bowles is 0-6 so far developing a double-digit pass rusher from a rookie, why should Joe expect Bowles to finally get one right now? Unless you believe the law of averages says he may get one right? That’s a damn expensive gamble.

The Bucs are much better off biting the bullet and trading for a capable veteran pass rusher. Spending a quality pick on a pass rusher, given Bowles’ history, you are either throwing the pick away or hoping the next Bucs coach can salvage the guy’s career (see: Williams, Leonard).

Bowles has done a nice job with veterans. He made Shaq Barrett a wealthy man. He got a lot out of Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh (Suh played often at defensive end). Will Gholston played his best football after Bowles arrived in Tampa.

Bowles also got solid production from outside rushers on previous teams: John Abraham and Calais Campbell (Arizona) and Muhammad Wilkerson (Jets). But again, they were veterans when Bowles worked with them.

It is rookie pass rushers Bowles has yet to develop.

30 Responses to “Todd Bowles’ History Of Developing Pass Rushers Is Not Good”

  1. bob in valrico Says:

    To be fair, Its been a longtime since the Bucs have drafted an edge rusher
    with right combination of speed, agility, and strength to succeed at the NFL level.
    Maybe we need Wade Philips as a special advisor to evaluate edge rushers. He seems to been around a lot of highly successful edge rushers.

  2. Joe in Michigan Says:

    The Bucs new OLB Coach George Edwards had Micah Parsons in Dallas, and he had 13 sacks as a rookie…So there is some hope.

  3. mark2001 Says:

    Sorry guys…. Bowles record of having winning teams as a HC is just as bad. So let’s admit we are looking at a longshot to end up in the top half of this division, as it is.

  4. bob in valrico Says:

    One player that the Bucs staff has developed and has steadily improved is Anthony Nelson. I think 5.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles is pretty good for a
    rotational player.

  5. Davy Crocket Says:

    Is this the result of a poor HC or poor defensive line coach? How much time does the HC spend with “hands on” teaching of rookies?

  6. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Micah Parsons: 6′-3″, 245, 4.39 40
    Nolan Smith: 6′-2″, 238, 4.39 40

  7. Da Bucs Guy Says:

    The only thing worst then Bowles developing pass rusher, is Bruce Arians developing QB’s . Gues that is why they have to Buy talent.

  8. Fansince76 Says:

    Great information thanks Joe.

    Wow Bowles does suck at developing edge rushers.

    They still need to draft Foskey!

  9. mg Says:

    The wooden indian blitzes to his demise. Remember how he screwed up?

  10. Bigz Says:

    Nolan Smith is a smaller Noah Spence. Don’t draft this guy. Huge bust potential.

  11. Crunch Says:

    The Bucs’ history of developing quarterbacks is not good either. Joe though does not extend the same courtesy to JTS’ fellow 2021 draftee QB. I wonder why?

  12. Curse of Gruden Says:

    Bowles’ history of being a head coach is not good.

  13. Voice of Truth Says:

    Q: What has Todd done as a HC that is questionable?

    A: Everything

    Six wins max with Bowlzo the HC

  14. ocala Says:

    He is a terrible head coach, but a good Defense Coordinator.
    He has a long career that has proven both.

  15. SB~LV Says:

    Just WHAT???
    Is good in Todd Bowels resume???
    Please help us out
    He had the GOAT last year!

  16. Dooley Says:

    To be honest, Simeon Rice is probably this franchises’ most prolific edge defender through history and he was drafted by the Cardinals. Just because you haven’t hit the pitch doesn’t mean you stop swinging, gotta get better with what you got, where you pick, and who’s available. Unless you are Mark Dominik and have some weirdo ways about why you wouldn’t draft particular players, or OLmen with high draft picks for that matter. Hell, before Licht we sucked at drafting OLmen.

  17. Andrew Fish Says:

    Bowles AND Licht have a bad record with pass rushers. I say change it up and go for guys that are seriously strong like Vea. Then next year get pass rushers in FA and Trade. both have some success doing it that way. I dont trust them to select the right pass rusher and develop them.

  18. Joe Says:

    To be honest, Simeon Rice is probably this franchises’ most prolific edge defender

    Lee Roy.

  19. Goatfarmer Says:

    Bloweszo’s success rate at developing pass rushers correlates to his success rate as a four consecutive year losing head coach. Not surprising. Bloweszo oversees regression very well.

  20. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    It’s not developing so much as choosing. Pick the right guys in the draft and they will develop themselves, for the most part. You can ruin them more than you can develop them.

  21. HC Grover Says:

    Bowles is not even a good defense coach. He stinks.

  22. Sly Pirate Says:

    If you attempted to list all the things Bowles was bad at doing as a HC, you’d run out of room on the internet.

    Name one positive thing he excels at?

  23. 80forBrady Says:

    And the Easter Bunny doesnt really poop out chocolate eggs….. Thanks for pointing out the obvious Joe.

    Monte Kiffen had position coaches Rod Marinelli DL and to a leeser extent Joe Carroll who concentrated on the LBs to help in the Bucs player development.
    Where are Toad Blowes assistants? Are they just cronies and “yes” men or can they really do the job?

  24. Travis K Says:

    Haven’t seen anyone else saying this but…how about trading Devin White straight up for Chase Young? The Commandos haven’t picked up his 5th year option and he’s in a similar situation as White is (but with still 1 year left on that cheap rookie contract). Make it happen Jason Licht!

  25. sasquatch Says:

    JBF Logic:
    Let’s not bother drafting anybody, since Bowles is terrible.

  26. Joe in Michigan Says:

    sasquatch Says:
    April 13th, 2023 at 1:20 pm
    JBF Logic:
    Let’s not bother drafting anybody, since Bowles is terrible.
    Sasquatch: I know what you’re saying, seems that some have defeatist attitudes. I haven’t thrown in the towel just yet.

  27. unbelievable Says:

    When was the last time any Bucs coach developed a pass rusher?

    Let alone one that’s drafted in round 4 or higher?

    In fact- how many pass rushers across the league were drafted round 4 or higher and turned into double digit sack monsters?

    I would guess very few…

  28. Goatfarmer Says:

    SlyPirate – so, you challenged anyone to list something Bloweszo does well. So.



    He, uh……um…….oh yeah there’s um, the…….



    Oh, he excels at making horrible decisions at the most critical times in games. Rams playoff game. Fake punt on like his own 14 against the Bengals. He’s great at doing that.

  29. garro Says:

    Lets hope that our new coach George Edwards can get more out of a Hall, JTS, and Nelson…since we don’t really know if we are gonna have a healthy Shaq Barrett

  30. Lord Cornelius Says:

    AH i just found this article after listening to the podcast.

    Depending on how much you credit Bowles specifically with Edge rusher development:

    -Okafor improved under him
    -Williams probably a (?) but the guy was a DT when they drafted him not outside edge LB in a 3-4

    JTS is really his only premium OLB edge rusher pick in his coaching history lol. And he’s still a (?) let’s give him year 3.

    The 3rd round picks that are out of football = bad draft picks not a sign he can’t develop anyone. Like seriously lol if they never went anywhere under any coaching how can you hold it against him as if he ruined them. That’s on the player evaluation not the coaching.