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Could Draft Include Quinn-Fowler Reunion?

The 2015 NFL Draft is just over 50 days away. Until then, nobody knows for sure what the Falcons will do with their No. 8-overall pick.

Among the many intriguing draft scenarios is a possible reunion between Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and Florida's Dante Fowler, Jr., who began his collegiate career with Quinn serving as his defensive coordinator in 2012.

The relationship between the two goes beyond football, commonplace for Quinn, who considers connecting with each of his players, on and off the field, as one of the top priorities and privileges in his profession.

Quinn helped the Gators defense rank in the top 10 during his two years on campus (2011-2012), including Fowler's freshman campaign (30 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks) in 2012. Fowler played two more years without Quinn, who accepted a job as Seattle's defensive coordinator in 2013, leaving Gainesville with 140-career tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two pass breakups.

"He's a terrific player," Quinn said of Fowler. "I've known him all the way through, coming up, and he is that kind of versatility player, where he can play on his feet, who can play down, he plays inside, outside, and that's the way they (Gators) tried to feature him there." 

Fowler echoed similar sentiments about Quinn, raving about his coaching expertise and the care he has for his players. The 6-foot-3, 261-pound defensive star says his path to the NFL, including his relationship with Quinn, has been part of an ongoing dream that started when he began playing football at age four.

Fowler's passion for the game and his versatility are just a few of the reasons why he is picked to be off the draft board early on April 30.

"I really can play anywhere," Fowler said.

"In (Florida head) coach (Will) Muschamp's defense, it was a multiple; we played a 3-4 and a 4-3. My freshman year, I played a lot of defensive end, sophomore year, I did a lot of both, and then my junior year, we played a lot of 3-4... and I stood up and just roamed around and things like that, so I'm kind of all over the place."

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