Edge (3-4 Outside Linebacker, 4-3 Defensive End)
6'3, 277 lbs
Fowler is an explosive athlete that can play multiple spots within a front seven. Florida used him in just about every way that you could think of this past season. He rushed off of the edge standing up, played with his hand in the dirt and even took some reps at the defensive tackle position. His first step is very fast and it allows him to get up to speed quickly. The clip below is a good look at Fowler (Right Defensive End) flashing a "dip" move. He beats the tackle with pure athletic ability.
His lower body is very strong, which pays dividends for him against the run. Fowler is able to hold his own against blocks in space as he works towards the football. He displays only decent instincts, but is still very active against the run. Unlike many of the Edge prospects in this class, his issue isn't size. Fowler has length as well as bulk -- that alone will make his transition to the NFL smoother.
Fowler is still figuring out his pass rush techniques. He only notched 4.5 sacks this past season and after spending some time watching him, I understand why. Fowler doesn't really use his length to his advantage. He lets himself get too close to the opposing tackles, minimizing his impact on the play. At times he looks too indecisive as a pass rusher. His play recognition needs improvement as well.
He needs to learn how to use his hands more consistently. He can hold his ground most of the time against blocks, but struggles to disengage from there. His lower half is very strong, but his upper body could use some work.
I think Fowler could fit in both a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive front. His versatility only adds to his value. I think he's a very good athlete, but he's still very rough around the edges. His problems are all things that can be coached out of him, however. I wouldn't expect Fowler to come in a break any sack records right off of the bat, but he could develop into a double digit sack guy down the road. His impact will be felt more against the run to start off.