Dante Fowler was a five-star high school recruit from St. Petersburg, Florida. He was recruited to play for Florida State, University of Southern California, and Clemson among others, but decided to sign with the Florida Gators instead. Fowler was the 3rd-rated weakside defensive end in the 2012 high school class, but moved to outside linebacker in the collegiate level. He enters the 2015 NFL Draft as a future first round pick.
College Career Overview
Fowler played rotationally as a freshman recording eight tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks making his way onto the All-Freshman SEC team. In an effort to become more explosive player, Fowler lost 15 pounds of body fat and used his new speed to help earn him Honorable Mention All-American and Second Team All-SEC his final, Junior season in Florida.
||August 3, 1994
||Bench (225 lb)
||20 Yard Shuttle
||3 Cone Drill
|40 Yard Dash (10 yd split)
||4.60 sec (1.56 sec)
||60 Yard Shuttle
Stats and Awards
|University of Florida (2012-2014)
||Honorable Mention All-America honors from Sports Illustrated. Selected to the All-SEC First Team by the leagues’ coaches, ESPN.com and Phil Steele (2014)
|2014 – 60 tackles, 15.0 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 1 PD, 2 FF
||Second Team All-SEC (2013)
|2013 – 50 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1 PD, 3 FF
||First Team All-Freshman (2012)
|2012 – 30 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks
||Florida Defensive and Team MVP (2014)
- Experience in dropping into zone coverage to form underneath LB shell coverage and playing man-to-man on running backs
- Plays both sides of line rushing from right and left side, plays ILB on some plays too rushing from center of defense. Very Troy Polamalu-esque in terms of versatility in placement around formations
- Club-swim move is favorite move by far. Likes to use that from interior and exterior.
- Rushes from 3pt and 2pt stance. Better rushing from 2pt stance. Great at interior ILB rushing responsibilities.
- Indecisive moves in pass rush caused by overthinking leading him to not being as effective.
- Slow overall in read-and-react abilities on run defense for bootlegs, play-action, and option plays
- Inconsistent conversion of speed-to-power.
- Violent hands on club-swim move to get around blockers
- Backside pursuit against weaker opponents is suspect. Pursues noticeably harder in big games like against FSU and ALA
- Inconsistent snap recognition. Sometimes first off of the line, sometimes last.
- With how explosive he is, why is his sack production against inferior college lineman lacking? It definitely won’t get easier in the pros to reach the quarterback with his current skill-set.
- Has the hip and ankle flexibility to turn the corner.
- Spin move lacking due to predictability and body commitment.
- Splash player with potential, but sometimes a non-factor completely in pass rush when he gets wrapped up by the tackle.
- Lack of control of speed causes him to over pursue the quarterback.
- Better as a one-gap rusher. Can’t hold the point at the edge for 3-4 Eagle defenses and struggles against downhill running teams.
- Needs a lot of technique-refining at the next level and more move development in the pros.
In the following plays we’ll take a look at Dante Fowler’s pass rushing and run defense and how it applies to the NFL. Videos courtesy of Draft Breakdown.
1. Pass Rush
One of the first things I noticed about Dante Fowler is how versatile he is yet his inconsistency in snap recognition sometimes hinders him. In the first play and second play, Fowler is standing in a two point stance and explodes through the A-gap taking the center by surprise. Here the quarterback from East Carolina throws an instant fade route, and really ANY other sort of read or progression outside of the fade route would have been an instant sack by Fowler. In this play, Fowler is able to disrupt the entire pass on his own utilizing his speed.
Here is another gap shooting example through the A-gap as an inside linebacker where Fowler narrowly misses fellow 2015 NFL Draft first rounder Jameis Winston to disrupt his progressions.
Other times Fowler is the last off of the snap like in this. This is the difference between a quarterback hurry and a quarterback hit on the Kentucky quarterback.
Good club-swim move to get QB hit. Fowler catches the right tackle extending one arm to stop him and easily beats him inside for the quarterback hit almost assisting in an interception. Here’s another disruption to the quarterbacks progressions, which forces him outside of pocket. Fowler only misses the sack because the right tackle pushes him from behind out of the play.
Here Fowler uses a club move to shake the offensive lineman on the bootleg.
Although, Fowler has a great club-swim move to disrupt the quarterback, he sometimes falls victim to overthinking pass rushes and hesitates making his speed and violent hands useless. Here are two examples of this.
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