A new role on defense could be the catalyst to getting the most out of Dante Fowler‘s potential for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With his rookie season taken away due to injury in 2015, our first look at Dante Fowler Jr. on the field came in the 2016 season. Although it wasn’t a completely unproductive campaign, it wasn’t exactly a memorable start either for the former third overall selection. Fowler played in all 16 games, tallying four sacks and 23 tackles.
Fowler obviously has the talent to be an impact player on the defense, but to really play to his strengths and skill set, the Jaguars should transition Fowler from defensive end to strongside linebacker.
Todd Wash is returning as defensive coordinator, and is expected to stick with his 4-3 under defense.
With Fowler’s speed and agility, plugging him in as an SLB would ensure that the team gets the most out of Fowler’s talents by putting him at a position that allows him to do the things he is best at, and not limiting the ways he can make an impact with his current position.
With Fowler as strongside linebacker, the Jaguars can let him do an array of things to disrupt the opposing offense. On passing plays, Fowler can stunt in pass rush as well as play the flats in coverage. On run plays, Jacksonville can let him play edge.
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These responsibilities should be more comfortable for Fowler, especially as he continues his transition from his versatile pass rusher role in college, and shouldn’t be a difficult transition considering they should actually play into his athleticism and natural ability more than his current role on the defensive line.
Jacksonville is currently a team unaccustomed to success, trying to do the things it takes to put together a winning team. Making the move to transition Dante Fowler from defensive end to stongside linebacker has immense potential to be a rewarding and impactful decision moving forward.