Football analyst Bucky Brooks, a former NFL player and scout, will break down the Cowboys' free-agent veteran signings of the offseason. Today, he'll feature veteran pass rusher Dante Fowler.
- Name: Dante Fowler
- Position: EDGE
- College: Florida
- Height: 6-3
- Weight: 261
- Season: 8th
- Games Studied: Falcons vs (Cowboys 2020, Seahawks 2020, Buccaneers 2020) Rams (vs. Falcons 2019, 49ers 2019, and Lions 2019)
Fowler is an explosive, power player on the edges with disruptive potential as a run defender and situational pass rusher. The veteran plays with outstanding energy and effort while adding nastiness to the unit with his physicality and tenacity. Fowler pummels blockers and runners in his path, and his "bull in a china shop" approach makes the game a street fight on the edges.
As a run defender, he utilizes his superior combination of strength and power to set the edge and work around blockers on the way to the ball carrier. Fowler's style is not always pretty, but his combination of energy, effort, and explosiveness produces results when he plays within the framework of the defense.
As a pass rusher, Fowler is strictly a power rusher off the edge. He wins with strength, power, and effort on a variety of bull rush or long-arm maneuvers. The veteran lacks an effective counter move in his arsenal, and his limited menu prevents him from registering significant sack numbers off the edges. While he tallied 11.5 sacks in 2019 with the Rams, he benefitted from playing with a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and a talented supporting cast. When Folwer has been tasked with being the lead pass rusher in the past, he has been unable to deliver the production that is expected from a No.1 rusher.
Overall, Fowler is a solid contributor as an edge defender, but it is important for him to play alongside premier talents for him to maximize his talents as a power player. He is a nice complementary piece on the defensive line, but he is not a blue-chip playmaker on the edge.
- Power player with heavy hands at the point of attack
- Rugged run defender who flashes explosive strength and power
- Plays with great effort and energy
- Unrefined pass rush skills
- Inconsistent sack and big-play production
- Skill limitations impact his star potential
What are scouts saying?
"He's not a standalone star, but he can play at an all-star level when surrounded by great players. Look at his 2017 season in Jacksonville and how he played with the Rams… When he plays on a team with great players, he plays up to the standard… He's a role player who is at his best when he doesn't need to play in a starring role."
How does he fit in with the Cowboys?
Fowler is the perfect replacement for Randy Gregory as an energy player off the bench. The veteran is a high motor, power player with some pass-rush ability. He will complement Demarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons as the third pass rusher on the field in select packages. Moreover, the veteran will provide the Cowboys with a rugged edge defender with the capacity to set the edge against the run while adding another power-based pass rusher to the mix on passing downs. If Fowler is positioned in a role that allows him to play to his strengths as a "bull in a china shop" on the edges, he could emerge as a key contributor to a defense that overwhelms opponents with speed, tenacity, and toughness in 2022.