In a crushing turn of events for the Jaguars, the team's first-round pass rusher has been lost for the year with the torn left ACL he suffered during Jacksonville's first rookie minicamp session on Friday, a source close to the situation told NFL Media columnist Michael Silver. The team later confirmed the injury.
Fowler was carted off the field after tumbling to the ground during 11-on-11 drills. The No. 3 overall pick grasped at his left knee before trainers descended to examine him and ultimately cart the defender away.
"Brutal," was the word general manager David Caldwell texted Silver, not understating the blow to a Jaguars defense that hoped Fowler would help them flip the switch.
Fowler was paired up against rookie offensive lineman Watts Dantzler when the knee bent awkwardly below him.
"I went to apologize to him (Fowler) and he was like, 'You're good, man. It's just football,'" Dantzler told ESPN's Michael DiRocco.
Hailing from Florida, Fowler was already talked about as a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, with NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah calling him a pass rusher who "plays as hard as anyone in this draft class."
The rookie was set to see major time at Jacksonville's Leo position, furnishing this young defense with a high-motor edge rusher capable of blowing up the pocket. After the Jaguars finished sixth in the league last season with 45 sacks, Fowler was being counted on to help tug this long-lost club out of oblivion in the AFC South.
Instead, Jacksonville's season is off to an inglorious start.