Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said he wanted to add more "game-wreckers" to the team's roster this offseason and it appears they are off to a good start.
Dimitroff addressed the Falcons' biggest need when he acquired Dante Fowler Jr. in the first week of free agency. Fowler, 25, recorded a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2019 with the Los Angeles Rams. The former No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft appears to be reaching the peak of his professional career.
"I have a lot to prove … you guys haven't seen nothing yet," Fowler said on Thursday. "In order to be the best edge rusher in the league, you have to put up double-digits [sacks] every year. That's my job, that's my goal to be consistent every year come out with double digits. This year was 11.5, I want to have more than 11.5-12.5 every year"
After starting his rookie season with a torn ACL suffered on the first day of minicamp, Fowler spent his first year in the NFL on the sidelines. Fowler didn't quite live up to the expectations the Jaguars had for their first-round pick and declined to pick up his fifth-year option.
The Los Angeles Rams traded for Fowler in 2018 giving him the fresh start his career needed. In two seasons with the Rams, Fowler recorded 58 tackles, 21 quarterback hits and 13 sacks.
Fowler believes his best football is still ahead of him and hopes it comes while playing under coach Dan Quinn. Quinn and Fowler have a close relationship dating back to their time in Gainesville, Fla., when Quinn was the Florida Gators' defensive coordinator from 2011-12.
Fowler said Quinn recruited him to Florida and has been a father-figure to him ever since.
The Falcons need Fowler to be at his best as they hope to get back to the postseason in 2020. Atlanta ranked No. 29 in the league in sacks in 2019 with 28 on the year.
Fowler isn't backing down from the expectations set for him, in fact, he relishes in the opportunity to prove himself. Even if it's setting lofty goals like trying to break Michael Strahan's single-season sack record of 22.5 sacks.
"The goal is to break Michael Strahan's record," Fowler said. "That's the goal. You have to put a lot of work in, though."