Donte Fowler Jr., the third overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, tore his ACL on the first day of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ minicamp, as per ESPN’s Adam Scheftler on Twitter.
Jaguars' 1st-round pick Dante Fowler tore his ACL and is out for the season, league source tells ESPN. Just wow.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 8, 2015
With the philosophy of making your strengths stronger, the Jaguars selected Fowler to be the last piece of a promising dominant pass rush. After finishing the 2013 season dead last in sacks, the Jaguars managed accomplished 44 in 2014, good for 6th in the league.
Gus Bradley’s three-year long odyssey to have a fearful pass-rush (probably to protect a weak group of corners) keeps going after Fowler’s injury. Once again, Bradley is forced to compensate talent with scheme and turn to a motley crew of defensive-ends that will have the usual cast of characters: an over-the-hill veteran (Chris Clemons), high-potential draft prospect that never panned out fully (Andre Branch), and various bit players (Chris Smith and Ryan Davis).
Fowler should return next year to boost the pass-rush but the problem is that Gus Bradley may not have a next year. He’s won only seven games in two season and showed little progress last year. Yes, the talent cupboard was bare due to prior regimes but, after Year 3, progress needs to show.
With a weaker defense than expected, the offense will need to excel for Bradley to get the requisite wins required to keep his job (probably 7 or 8). That’s a risky preposition, especially considering the two previous top-3 overall picks, Luke Joeckel and Blake Bortles, were drafted to be lynchpins of the offense and haven’t been models of consistency and success.
There’s only so many top-3 overall picks a regime can draft and fail on before a new regime is brought into town. With Fowler out, Bradley’s job of winning, and keeping his job by winning, just got a lot harder.
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