Defensive end Dante Fowler said in May that he believes he will make a big jump during the 2017 season, which will be his third since the Jaguars made him the third overall pick of the 2015 draft.
Fowler didn’t play the first of those years after tearing his ACL during rookie minicamp and he was inconsistent while coming off the bench last year on the way to finishing the season with 32 tackles and four sacks. Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash said he sees some things coming together for Fowler that could result in the kind of jump that the player predicted this offseason.
Wash feels Fowler has matured a lot and is “more focused on the little details” than he was in the past. He also thinks Fowler’s work with defensive line coach Marion Hobby has paid off with improved technique.
“We see a lot of improvement in the pass rush side of things,” Wash said, via Mike Kaye of First Coast News. “Obviously we’re not coming speed to power. Everything is speed-based right now. You see improvement in his hands, his get-off. A lot of it was, [Hobby] had to fix his stance. He has concentrated a lot on that and you see the explosion and burst that we’re looking for.”
Given the injury he suffered before his rookie year, the need to focus on getting healthy leading into last season and the fact that he turns 23 in August, it’s unsurprising that there was room for Fowler to grow in terms of both maturity and on-field performance. It would be equally unsurprising if he capitalized on those gains with a significant step forward this fall.