Let's get straight to the point: Tashawn Bower is drawing comparisons to Vikings rising star Danielle Hunter, and for plenty of good reasons.
The comparisons don't stop there.
Both were four-star recruits by Rivals coming out of high school. Rivals had Bower as the 14th best weakside defensive end in the Class of 2013. Hunter was ranked 21st at the same position in 2012.
Hunter hosted Bower on a recruiting visit to LSU, and Bower signed with the Tigers after it was supposed to be a forgone conclusion that he'd sign with Auburn or Florida. Hunter recruited him again with the Vikings, who signed him as an undrafted free agent.
That's probably the big difference. Hunter was a third-round pick and Bower didn't get drafted.
There's more – both were considered college athletes who needed their talent unlocked.
NFL.com on Bower: "He's long and athletic but he's not very strong. He's a developmental type who you hope can be unlocked by your position coach."
NFL.com on Hunter: "He's going to blow up the combine, and then ace all of the interviews and NFL teams are going to fall in love with him. He still needs someone to unlock all that talent, though."
Enter Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson, via the Star Tribune: "Some people are looking at the total number of what the guy did through his career, instead of looking at, ‘What kinds of skill sets does he possess?'"
The coaching unlocked Hunter's ability (he had 12.5 sacks last season) and turned him into one of the most feared defensive players in the NFL.
Bower has two sacks in two games with the Vikings, to which he's already crediting the coaching.
“I’m just using my combination of speed and power and all of the techniques that coach teaches,” Bower said last week, via Vikings.com. “It takes all four guys to get a sack, so it’s not just me helping out.”
Maybe the next thing Bower will have in common with Hunter is a double-digit sack season in a few years.