A lot of Falcons fans would love to see head coach Dan Quinn, who was the Florida Gators defensive coordinator in 2012, reunite with his former player, defensive end Dante Fowler, Jr. in 2015. One day after Fowler participated in his school's pro day, many draft analysts remain convinced that the talented pass rusher won't be around long on draft night, and Fowler agrees.
"I'm the best player in the draft," Fowler said Tuesday. "Why I'd say that? It's because of how complete I am out there. There are a lot of guys, a lot of good people in this draft, but as far as me being able to do the whole thing, I can do it all."
The 6-foot-3, 264-pound defensive end finished fourth on the team with 60 total tackles in 2014 and led the Gators with 15 tackles-for-loss and 8.5 sacks. He also had a team-leading 17 quarterback hurries and left the Gators in impressive fashion, setting a career-high with three sacks in his final collegiate game against East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl victory.
Among the many draft analysts with high reviews of Fowler, NFL Media's Lance Zierlein believes the Florida defensive star is the best edge rusher in this year's draft class, offering the following assessments of his game:
Defensive linemen and linebackers performed on-field workouts on Sunday at the 2015 Scouting Combine. Check out pictures from the fifth day in Indianapolis.
"(Fowler is) well-built (and has an) athletic frame with very long arms," Zierlein said.
"(He) has transformed (his) body since coming in, losing 25 pounds while adding substantial explosiveness in space. (He's) versatile -- was moved around field for (the) Gators (and) can rush from (a) two- or three-point stance (and has) good first-step quickness. (He) can chase the play-side running back to (the) sideline and terminate with (a) very little angle. (He) has strong hands and arm extension to set edge and maintain."
Areas to Improve
"(Fowler) bounced all over the field (and is a) raw pass rusher," Zierlein said. "(He's) still learning nuances of the position (and) needs more coordination between hands and feet. (His) pass-rush approach lacks efficiency and includes too much wasted motion. Tackles with length can lock him out and run him over the top. (He has) average lower-body strength with limited window to fend off power. (He has) limited recovery talent when beaten early in (the) snap (and his) inconsistency against (a) downhill running game is a concern."
Like Zierlein, NFL Media's Mike Mayock has Fowler listed as the top edge rusher in this year's draft.
1. Dante Fowler, Jr., Florida
2. Shane Ray, Missouri
3. Vic Beasley, Clemson
4. Randy Gregory, Nebraska
5. Bud Dupree, Kentucky