It’s no secret that the Jets need an edge rusher just as much as humans need air to breathe. It’s been well documented that John Abraham was the last real edge rusher the Jets have had and while it’s been a lacking point in the Jets defense, it hasn’t been addressed recently with a premium pick or a free agent signing outside of Vernon Gholston (*shivers*). With the Jets kicking the tires on a potential Dante Fowler trade, what would he bring to the Jets defense?
It’s been a much talked about hypothetical trade scenario in which the Jets acquire Dante Fowler from the Jaguars and today, that hypothetical scenario got some legs.
BREAKING: #Jets reach out to Jaguars to gauge their interest in trading pass rusher Dante Fowler, Jr., per sources.August 21, 2018
The former number three overall pick hasn’t had the best start to his career. He missed his rookie season after tearing his ACL and has only totaled 12 sacks combined in the two seasons he’s played. You’d expect more from a top three pick especially as an edge rusher. He’s also suspended for the first game of the season and has had team issues for a majority of training camp.
With all of that being said, if the Jets were to acquire him he instantly becomes the Jets best edge rusher without even having played a down. Fowler has been playing as a 4-3 end in the Jaguars defense and has benefited greatly from the talent on their line. He still has raw pass rush moves. If he can’t beat you with a bull rush, he doesn’t have a good counter or finishing move. He does however work very well when he stunts.
Having an actual pass rusher would theoretically open things up for Leonard Willians. It would force teams to focus on Fowler, if he is what the Jets think he can be, and give Leo more one on ones. It can also open opportunities to send more exotic blitzes with the focus having to be on Fowler.
Getting Fowler doesn’t solve all of the Jets edge problems but it would help a good bit. Fowlers ceiling is still very high if he can just put it together and keep his head on straight. His team issues don’t scare me enough to not trade for him. While this Jets culture change is fairly new, I think it’s strong enough to keep a guy like Fowler from ruining it. Fowler would bring this defense from a middle of the pack defense to at worst a slightly above average defense and it would change the ceiling of the defensive unit as well.