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Jags pass rusher Dante Fowler thrilled with progress


The optimism surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars' improved defense hinges largely on 2015 first-round pick Dante Fowler, who missed his entire rookie season after an ACL injury last May.

Fowler has participated in every OTA session this offseason and said he feels like he's growing with each snap.

"The reps they do give me, I try and take advantage of," he said, via the Florida Times-Union. "My job is to show that whatever they put on my plate, I can handle. The more they give me, the more I can show that I can be accountable."

Fowler hitting the ground running in 2016 despite missing an entire year is crucial. Despite all of the Jags' additions on defense -- Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson, Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, Prince Amukamara -- not one was an edge rusher.

The Jaguars need Fowler to provide instant pressure from the outside, something Gus Bradley's defense has lacked since its conception in Jacksonville.

"I feel like every day, I play faster and faster, especially when I'm able to get into the film room with my coaches and go over the plays," Fowler said of his improvement.

If Fowler can become a top-shelf edge rusher in his first season on the field, the Jags' defense has a chance to make a wild leap in 2016.