Da'Quan Bowers wants to join NFL's elite

Al Messerschmidt

Da'Quan Bowers' first two NFL seasons were marred by injury, but he's healthy now and has high expectations for 2013.

Beginning with the pre-draft process, Da'Quan Bowers' entire NFL career has been negatively impacted by injury. Now, heading into 2013, he's healthy and said he is looking for an opportunity to show he can be an dominant NFL player.

More: Bucs Nation

Bowers was projected as a possible top 10 pick heading into the 2011 NFL Draft, but a knee injury caused him to slide down the draft before being selected by Tampa Bay in the second round. He played in all 16 games as a rookie, but suffered a torn right Achilles during offseason workouts last year. Some players take up to a year or more to return from an Achilles tear, but Bowers returned to the field in less than six months and played in 10 games in 2012. Now, healthy heading into 2013, Bowers said he wants to reach his full potential.

"It's not only injuries, but (my) play. I haven't been the dominant player that I know I can be," Bowers said, via Stephen F. Holder of the Tampa Bay Times. "I have a lot of potential to be one of the best and the elite at what (I) do, and I haven't shown that at this level yet. (It was) injuries and not understanding what was going on. It takes time to mature at this level. I think my maturation process is going on now and a lot of it has already passed. So I'm just looking for an opportunity now."

With Michael Bennett departing in free agency and Adrian Clayborn coming off a torn ACL, the Bucs may need a big season from Bowers. Bucs head coach Greg Schiano said Bowers needs to record at least 10 sacks in 2013. Bowers finished with with 3.0 sacks in 10 games last season.

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