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Redskins Combine Countdown: Florida DE Dante Fowler

Feb 17, 2015, 2:37 PM EDT

Dante-Fowler-action

The NFL Combine gets underway in Indianapolis tomorrow. I will be there and I have been doing a lot of work getting up to speed on the draft class of 2015. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.

Dante Fowler
Edge
Florida

source:

Height: 6-3
Weight: 260

What they’re saying:

STRENGTHS Well-built, athletic frame with very long arms. Has transformed body since coming in, losing 25 pounds while adding substantial explosiveness in space. Versatile –was moved around field for Gators. Can rush from two- or three-point stance. Good first-step quickness. Uses improving spin move to counter when rush stalls high-side.

WEAKNESSES Bounced all over the field. Raw pass rusher. Still learning nuances of the position. Needs more coordination between hands and feet. Pass-rush approach lacks efficiency and includes too much wasted motion. Expected “speed-to-power” conversion inconsistent on tape.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: Fowler is almost the prototype for the college defensive end who can successfully convert to an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He has the athletic ability to get it done and, as noted, Florida had him moving all around, rushing from a two-point stance and with his hand in the dirt. Although you ideally might  want him to be an inch or two taller, he can compensate for that slight disadvantage with his long arms.

As they will if they draft Randy Gregory of Nebraska or Shane Ray of Missouri, the Redskins will slot Fowler at right outside linebacker opposite Ryan Kerrigan replacing Brian Orakpo, who is an unrestricted free agent. Second-year OLB Trent Murphy would revert to the role he played before Orakpo got hurt and come into the game in nickel situations.

There are no character questions about Fowler, who won’t turn 21 until training camp, and he gives a solid effort on every play.

Potential issues: Although the effort is always there for Fowler, his performance in inconsistent. His technique needs a lot of polish as he won’t be faster and stronger than a lot of players in the NFL like he was in college. This is the case with many great athletes and top performers in the draft as their coaches worry more about the underachievers. If a guy can get the job done as well as Fowler did they aren’t going to fuss over his fundamentals.

On glaring issue is with taking on straight-on blocks in the running game. That seems odd with his quickness and it’s something that his NFL coaches with work with him to correct.

Still, until he learns and adapts in the NFL you don’t know if he can do it. Projecting is the hardest part of drafting and with that No. 5 pick being so important for the Redskins, Scot McCloughan will earn his money with this evaluation.

Bottom line: Fowler will be in the mix for the Redskins with that fifth overall pick. Although it might take a year or two to add polish to his game, he could have instant impact on Redskins’ struggling defense.

If I had to make a way-too-early prediction of who will the Redskins’ top draft pick, I’d guess the name on the card will be Dante Fowler.

Previously in Combine Countdown:

  1. thirdistheworrd - Feb 17, 2015 at 3:21 PM

    Rich is right about Fowler and the Redskins thought process going into the draft, however I don’t see Fowler being the best player on the board. Most scouts have both Shane Ray and Randy Gregory ranked higher at OLB, and at no. 5 there’s mathematically no way Mariota, Winston, Leonard Williams, Gregory and Ray can all be gone. Fowler would be a solid pick for the Redskins, I just don’t see him being picked over Ray (Gregory will probably be off the board first).

    • Joe Greene - Feb 17, 2015 at 4:45 PM

      Ray is smaller, and unlike both Gregory and Fowler he hasn’t played much in a 2 point stance.

  2. ET - Feb 17, 2015 at 4:15 PM

    No idea if we get him or not, but count me as a Fowler fan. Whoever the first two picks are, they’ll be under a fair amount of pressure to produce right away. This draft class will undergo trial by fire.

  3. tralfaz10 - Feb 17, 2015 at 4:53 PM

    All of Fowler’s weaknesses can be worked through with coaching. It is a different level of learning from college to the NFL. We need either him or Gregory to take Orakpo’s spot. I like Rak, but he is just not worth the $$$.

  4. ajbus1 - Feb 17, 2015 at 6:06 PM

    I like him better than Ray (too small) and Gregory (heaps of baggage).

    • thirdistheworrd - Feb 17, 2015 at 6:25 PM

      Ray is the exact size of Bruce Irvin– drafted by McCloughan– and ten pounds shy of Justin Houston. You are spot on about Gregory and his work ethic however– still, I think any of the three are the right pick for the Skins.

      • ajbus1 - Feb 17, 2015 at 9:25 PM

        The difference is that we play a 3-4, which Ray is slightly undersized for an OLB. I’d still take him over Gregory though. After I read about Gregory losing his scholarship to Purdue, breaking his leg in JUCO, and being accused of not always trying his hardest…I’d pass. Fowler seems to get all the check marks so I’d take him if they go with a pass rusher. I’d still like to see us try and trade back a few spots and get Scherff or Shelton.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 18, 2015 at 1:16 AM

        Bruce Irvin plays in a 4-3 we run a 3-4 not the same position

        • ajbus1 - Feb 18, 2015 at 2:08 AM

          Right, exactly what I’m sayin’. He’s a little undersized for a typical 3-4 OLB, which Irvin plays in the 4-3 at that size.

      • Joe Greene - Feb 18, 2015 at 4:46 PM

        Bruce Irvin plays in a 4-3. How are you not able to grasp the concept?

  5. bowlregard - Feb 17, 2015 at 7:14 PM

    Mayock likes Fowler better than Gregory or Ray.

  6. Jax4 - Feb 17, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    Trade back and take Landon Collins!!!!!!!

    • babyteal1 - Feb 18, 2015 at 8:00 AM

      We need a guy who can cover

    • Joe Greene - Feb 18, 2015 at 4:46 PM

      Another bad coverage S is the last thing this team needs.

  7. nomaan78 - Feb 17, 2015 at 10:30 PM

    I like Gregory, Ray and Fowler, but what if we went DT and drafted Danny Shelton from Washington and then draft his teammate Hauoli Kikaha OLB in the 3rd as he is a good passrusher as well. I also Like Nate Orchard

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 18, 2015 at 1:13 AM

      I also like both guys from Washington thats a good idea

      • ajbus1 - Feb 18, 2015 at 2:09 AM

        fo sho

  8. timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 18, 2015 at 1:19 AM

    I like Fowler but I also like the Idea of getting Both Washington players the guy above mentioned Or a Olinemen

  9. gasngo14 - Feb 18, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    Fowler is a very good kid, I have watched him play and grow for years. Not to sure we take him at #5. I hope we do, time will tell

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