2015 NFL Draft: New York Jets Should Look at Two “Gator Made” Defenders
By Mike Nash
Jan 3, 2015; Birmingham, AL, USA; Florida Gators head coach interim D.J. Durkin is presented the trophy after winning the Birmingham Bowl against East Carolina Pirates at Legion Field. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
There is a saying for the Florida Gators football team. When players succeed in the NFL, the saying is that they are ” Gator Made”.
When it comes to two former Gator defenders, if everything goes as planned for these two, DT Leon Orr and DE/OLB Dante Fowler Jr. will prove to the world what it truly means to be ” Gator Made”. The best part about these two? You won’t find two players who are better friends, and these guys love to go out each week and make plays, and also have fun while doing it.
And the Jets should take a look at them both.
Next: Dante Fowler Jr.
The Jets should seriously consider taking Gator DE/LB Dante Fowler Jr.
When the Jets are on the clock with the 6th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Jets should take a hard look at Dante Fowler JR if he is still on the board. For the past few seasons, the Jets have desperately needed speed off the edge to get after the passer. Veteran linebacker Calvin Pace was a serviceable player, but the Jets desperately need a youth movement at the position. Insert Fowler. Fowler has an incredible first step off the edge, which he uses to beat the left and right tackle.
While Fowler relies on his speed often to get after the opposing quarterback, he also has the power to get the job done as well. At times during his career at Florida, Fowler would line up right over the center and as soon as the ball was snapped, burst off the line and run right over the center with just pure force on his way to sacking the QB. Fowler is built to be a pass rusher in the NFL, but he is not just a one trick pony. While he can use some improvement, Fowler has very strong instincts and is strong against the run.
What makes Fowler such a unique prospect is that he has the ability to play with his hand in the dirt as a DE, or play standing up at LB. One area I would like to see Fowler improve on is his coverage skills. While he was rarely asked to do this in college, if he plays linebacker in the pros he may be asked at times to cover a running back or tight end. Fowler was the leader of the Gators defense, and is known for being a very hard worker. When he gets a sack, look for Fowler to do his own sack dance. If he is there at 6, it may be hard for the Jets to pass on the dancing pass rusher.
Next: Leon Orr
Sep 13, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Leon Orr (8) reacts after they beat the Kentucky Wildcats in triple overtime at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 36-30 in triple overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The 2014 season was not an easy one for Gator defensive lineman Leon Orr. Orr was removed from the Florida Gators football team by then head coach Will Muschamp with just a few games left in the season, but that is in the past for Orr, and the young defensive lineman is excited to get moving on his future in the NFL. After battling through some injuries throughout college, Orr is now fully healthy and will look to impress coaches leading up to the NFL Draft. Already this offseason,the Jets have reached out and expressed interest in Orr. As a fit for the Jets, Orr could be exactly the guy the Jets need.
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It is possible that the Jets may lose lineman Kenrick Ellis and Leger Douzable this offseason, so adding a guy like Orr would allow the Jets to pick up right where they left off. Orr does not have one glaring weakness in his game. With a tremendous motor, Orr always seems to be around the ball. For a guy who normally played over center, Orr was still able to apply pressure on the QB recording a good number of sacks as a Gator.
What Orr is best at though is his ability to stop the run. Orr takes on blocks with ease and has the power and athleticism to get after the ball carrier. If drafted by the Jets, Orr would benefit greatly from learning from new Jets coaches Pepper Johnson and Kacy Rodgers. Orr will be asked plenty about his departure from UF during the scouting combine by coaches and GM’s, but after having the chance to speak with Orr, it is clear that he will be honest with everyone, and is looking forward to making a name for himself in the NFL.
Over the years, there have been many Florida Gators who have had successful NFL careers. When it comes to Dante Fowler JR and Leon Orr, don’t be surprised if they are the next two who are considered ” Gator Made” .