Florida coach Will Muschamp believes defensive end Dante Fowler, a junior who plans to enter the 2015 NFL Draft, is a first-round talent.
"Yes," Muschamp said when asked if Fowler is first-round material. "There aren't many folks that possess the qualities he can give you as far as rushing the passer. And that's paramount in that league. You've got to have guys that can rush the passer, and he can win one-on-one (battles). There is no question in my mind."
Fowler revealed his intention to leave UF for the NFL draft via Twitter on Tuesday. Fowler has 4.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hurries on the season, both of which lead the team. The 6-3, 260-pounder is second on the team in tackles with 49, showing effectiveness against the run that isn't aways a strength for edge pass rushers.
"He's got a tremendous upside in my opinion. The No. 1 thing he has going for him is how hard he plays," Muschamp said. "That's what they want to see. Football is very important to Dante when he steps on the field. Your tape is your resume as a player, and his resume is very good because of the effort that he gives. The physical attributes he has as far as initial quickness, his power, he's very smart, he can handle multiple stuff as far as the different things you game plan with him, changing week to week and getting him in different spots. Somebody is going to be very lucky to have him."
Fowler's standing in the draft will be challenged amid some impressive senior pass rushers, including Clemson's Vic Beasley, Utah's Nate Orchard, Washington's Hau'oli Kikana, Michigan State's Shilique Calhoun and Louisville's Lorenzo Mauldin, to say nothing of other underclassmen who will eventually declare early eligibility.