Dante Fowler Jr. is still finding his feet with the Jacksonville Jaguars making a 2015 NFL re-draft see the Jags grab someone else to fill the pass rushing void.
Injuries are never good. Dante Fowler Jr. found that out the hard way after tearing his ACL during his first look on the field in a rookie minicamp for the Jacksonville Jaguars following his selection third overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.
To say that ACL tear held him back would be accurate. Instead of hitting the field as a young terror, Fowler missed all of 2015 and worked back slowly into the rotation in 2016. Fellow pass rusher, rookie Yannick Ngakoue, is pushing Fowler for playing time after leading the team with eight sacks (Fowler had four).
But in the game of football, production matters most. Fowler has just four sacks to his name two seasons after being drafted. It is far too early to call him a bust. Similarly, it is still too early to tell how his career will shape out, but in the offseason everything is up for exploration. That was the motivation behind Lance Zierlein’s re-draft of the 2015 NFL Draft. In it, Zierlein gives the Jaguars a pass rusher at third overall and that pass rusher is Danielle Hunter.
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Hunter, for those who don’t follow the Minnesota Vikings, has been a menace. He worked his way up the depth chart after entering as a third-round pick and has accumulated 18.5 sacks in two seasons. He has 12.5 sacks in 2016, leading the Vikings defense.
It isn’t all about bringing the quarterback down, though. Hunter has also made an impact in big-time plays. Two fumbles forced, one fumble recovered, and a touchdown makes Hunter not just a great pass rusher but one of the more electric young defenders to watch in the NFL.
The production has led to accolades. Aside from going third overall in this re-draft, Hunter also landed on Pro Football Focus’ top-25 under 25 list and Bleacher Reports’ best young pass rushers list.
While Fowler still has the raw ability to be great, the Jags certainly wouldn’t have minded the kind of production Hunter has provided. The drat is always a bit of a gamble and hindsight is 20/20.