Fowler would be 'stunned' if Jaguars pass on him at No. 3
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Dante Fowler Jr. didn't do much at Florida's pro day Tuesday.
He didn't need to.
Projected to be a top-five pick in the upcoming NFL draft, the former Florida standout skipped the bench press, the vertical jump, the broad jump, the 40-yard dash, the three-cone drill and a few others. What he did do during his hour-long workout - position drills for linebackers and defensive ends - showcased his speed, agility and ability to move well in space.
It was his last workout before the April 30 draft, but just the start of a busy week that includes meetings with the Jacksonville Jaguars (Tuesday), Tennessee Titans (Wednesday), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Friday) and Atlanta Falcons (Sunday).
Fowler said he would be ''stunned'' if Jacksonville didn't select him with the No. 3 pick because he's a perfect fit for coach Gus Bradley's multiple-front scheme.
''I can set the edge and I can come off the edge standing up, so I'd be surprised (if Jacksonville didn't take me), but that's how the draft goes,'' Fowler said. ''I'm just happy that I'm getting drafted and I'm getting drafted on the first day.''
Even though Fowler's workout was limited, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound St. Petersburg native garnered most of the attention on a warm and sunny day in Gainesville. He relaxed with family and friends in the stands at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium before lacing up his cleats and attacking every drill like it was a critical third-down play.
He placed his hands on his hips and head between drills - evidence that he wasn't just going through the motions.
''My biggest strength as a player is how I play the game,'' Fowler said. ''I'm not just doing it because I need it. I actually love football. I want to be one of the great ones when it's all said and done. ... I feel like I still have a big chip on my shoulder and I have a lot of things to prove. I'm still working until it's all said and done and I'm able to be one of the great ones.''
At his size, Fowler wanted to show NFL personnel - Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin and New York Jets' Todd Bowles were the only head coaches in attendance - that he could run, turn and shift in the open field.
''I know there were a lot of guys that had some concerns if I could move in space,'' Fowler said. ''I did a lot of linebacker drills today. I just want to show them I can move in space, I'm good with my speed, I can move. A lot of people said I didn't look 265 today, so that makes me feel good.''
Since Fowler performed so well at the NFL combine in February, he was able to rest on much of those workouts. Although he did mostly linebacker drills Tuesday, many still project him to be a 4-3 end.
''He's going to be a guy that rushes the quarterback,'' NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. ''What I think he showed today is that he is athletic and fluid enough to drop if necessary.''
Twenty of Fowler's former teammates also worked out Tuesday.
Offensive linemen D.J. Humphries, Max Garcia and Chaz Green drew a crowd. Garcia benched 225 pounds a staggering 30 times. Kick returner Andre Debose covered the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds. Fullback Hunter Joyer wasn't able to go after tearing a knee ligament working out last week.
Maybe the most interesting aspect was that Florida recruited former South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia to throw to receivers, tight end and running backs. Garcia showed up wearing Gamecocks gear, but was asked to change into Gators garb. He later posed for pictures next to the statue of Florida great and current South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier.
''Everyone who recognized me gave me a hard time,'' said Garcia, who helped the Gamecocks clinch the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division in the Swamp in 2010. ''Once they saw me with the hat off and the long hair, they're like, `Hey, that's Garcia. I remember that guy.'''
Fowler, meanwhile, hopes this is the start of a memorable NFL career.
''I feel like I'm the No. 1 guy that's supposed to be taken off the board, especially defensive,'' Fowler said. ''When you go defensive, I'm the No. 1 guy just because of how complete I am - complete pass rusher, complete linebacker. I can do it all.''