Dante Fowler Jr.: Prospect Breakdown (with GIFs)
Nov 1, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. (6) reacts and celebrates during the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field. Florida Gators defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 38-20. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
- Ideal NFL size at 6’3″ 261 pounds
- Versatile. Effective with his hand in the dirt and also standing up
- Quick first step/initial burst
- Shoots gaps very well
- Excellent use of hands to keep blockers from engaging
- Explosive athlete, closing speed is elite
- Relentless motor
- Has trouble disengaging from blocks
- If his first move doesn’t beat the blocker, he tends to get stuck
- Needs to get better with leverage. Caused him to be overpowered too often
- Tendency to over-pursue, leading to missed tackles in open field
- Has to add more pass rushing moves to his arsenal
Fowler is versatile enough and talented enough to where he could excel both as 3-4 outside linebacker and 4-3 defensive end. He’s a pure pass rusher who is decent in run support and wasn’t asked to drop into coverage very often.
He is excellent in several areas, including his versatility, first step and initial burst, and closing speed when in pursuit.
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Fowler uses his hands extremely well in some situations, but not so well in others. For example, one play he will use his hands to keep a blocker from engaging and a few plays later, he doesn’t use his hands at all, when it could have helped him beat his man.
As I mentioned in the “cons” above, Fowler has a few areas he needs to improve on. Most notably, he needs to add more moves to his pass rushing arsenal. If he didn’t beat his assignment with his first move, and it was usually a swim or rip move that was successful, he would get stuck. A spin move and a bull rush would go a long way in helping Fowler’s productivity at the next level.
Fowler has drawn comparisons to both Brian Orakpo when he stands up and Chandler Jones when he lines up as a defensive end. He has all the physical traits you could want in an NFL player, and most of his negatives are technique related and can be learned in time. His upside is tremendous and with proper coaching, there is no doubt Fowler can be a special player.
He will surely receive strong consideration from the Raiders with the number four selection, and most mock drafts have him in the top 10 at this point.
Fowler would be an excellent addition to Oakland’s front seven, as he could play opposite Khalil Mack, allowing Sio Moore to play in the middle. Or like Mack did a lot this season, Fowler can put his hand in the dirt and lineup as a defensive end as well.
Outside of Leonard Williams, Fowler is arguably the next best option if Oakland wants to address the front seven. It’s a toss up between he and Randy Gregory at this point, whose breakdown will be done later this week.