2015 NFL Draft Profile: Dante Fowler, Jr., DE, Florida


Jan 3, 2015; Birmingham, AL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Dante Fowler (6) looks to the crowd at the close of the game agains the East Carolina Pirates in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Time for another profile of a potential member of the New York Jets.

We have talked quite a bit about how the Jets have a wide variety of talent to choose from with the sixth pick in the draft. Whether the Jets want to go on the defensive or offensive side of the football, they have an excellent shot at picking an impact football player.

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Over the last few days, we have been looking at the pass rushers that looked so dominant at the NFL Combine. We have looked at Randy Gregory and Vic Beasley so far.

Today, we are going to look at the third pass rusher of that group, a guy our own Mike Nash called a “Gator Made” defender.

We are looking at Dante Fowler, DE out of Florida.

Next: College Stats

Nov 15, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman

Dante Fowler Jr.

(6) pressures South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback

Dylan Thompson

(17) during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Florida Gators 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a look at Fowler’s stats from Florida:

Defense & Fumbles

Fowler is another guy that has spent his college career in the offensive backfield.  Last year, Fowler posted 8.5 sacks and 15 TFL’s.  40% of his tackles in 2014 were behind the line of scrimmage, a huge number.  Fowler was a dominant player at Florida.

This is not in dispute.

Next: NFL Combine

Feb 20, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida defensive lineman Dante Fowler speaks to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a look at Fowler’s performance at the Combine:

He measured in at 6’3″, 261 pounds. His arm length was 33 3/4″. Fowler ran a 4.6 40 yard dash. His broad jump was 112″, and his vertical was 32.5″.

Here are his strengths and weaknesses from his NFL Combine profile:

STRENGTHS: Well-built, athletic frame with very long arms. Has transformed body since coming in, losing 25 pounds while adding substantial explosiveness in space. Versatile — was moved around field for Gators. Can rush from two- or three-point stance. Good first-step quickness. Uses improving spin move to counter when rush stalls high-side. Can dip and turn corner against upright tackles. Slants inside with devastating quickness. Well-timed arm over to whip lungers. Rangy in pursuit. Has hips and feet to change direction seamlessly. Can chase play-side running back to sideline and terminate with very little angle. Length to stifle cut blocks. Strong hands and arm extension to set edge and maintain.

WEAKNESSES: Bounced all over the field. Raw pass rusher. Still learning nuances of the position. Needs more coordination between hands and feet. Pass-rush approach lacks efficiency and includes too much wasted motion. Expected “speed-to-power” conversion inconsistent on tape. Tackles with length can lock him out and run him over the top. Average lower-body strength with limited window to fend off power. Limited recovery talent when beaten early in snap. Inconsistency against downhill running game is a concern.

As always, video and final thoughts on the next page.

Next: Video and Final Thoughts

This was actually some film from a game last season against Kentucky. Rather than a highlight package, these several plays in a row can us the best overall view of Fowler’s game as I can find.

Fowler has a very high motor. He doesn’t give up on a play ever. Fowler is also as athletic as anyone. If you noticed how he chanced down a running back from the backside, his speed and motor become evident. He has played all over the field, and can drop into coverage as well as rush the passer. Fowler tackles well.

As the previous page mentioned, he does need to hone his pass rushing skills. He has a great first step inside, but sometimes, when he rushes to the outside, he has a tough time getting by if the lineman gets there first. Fowler will have to improve in that area to take the jump at the next level.

But all things considered, Dante Fowler would make an excellent choice for the Jets at number six.

Next: Latest Marcus Mariota Mock Draft