Former Florida coach Will Muschamp knows what Dante Fowler will bring to the Falcons

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With the Coronavirus pandemic ongoing, traditional interviews featuring new signees are non-existent, but Falcons reporters did have the opportunity to join Atlanta’s prized offseason addition on a conference call, and it produced a lot of information that should have fans thrilled about their new pass rusher.

We will get to that in a second, however, because the best quote I read regarding Fowler did not come from himself. It came from his former college football coach at Florida, Will Muschamp. The now South Carolina head man said — regarding Fowler — “He’s a violent, violent football player.”

Pretty simple quote, right? There’s no reason it should have me ready to run through a wall over five months away from the NFL season. But it does because of who he is replacing.

When looking at Fowler and Vic Beasley, there are several similarities — their draft class, how high they were picked, their athletic profiles, and their inconsistent production early on in their careers. Many people have brought this up, and there is nothing wrong with doing that, but their playing styles could not be more different.

Let’s just be straight up about it: Beasley was soft. Despite the fact that he was built like a Greek god and looked like he could push a 400-pound man from one side of the field to the other without breaking a sweat, he hated physical contact, and there were questions about his love for the game coming out of college. That’s not the case for Fowler, who wants to inflict as much physical pain on his opponents as possible every snap. That’s the guy I want on my team, and that’s why I’m confident he will be a significant upgrade over Beasley.

But back to what Fowler told reporters in his interview. First of all, he admitted Dan Quinn played a considerable role in his recruitment to Atlanta. Quinn coached Fowler back when he was a defensive line coach for the Florida Gators, and apparently, their relationship is even deeper than that.

Fowler also commented on his development as a pass rusher. He said he entered the league a “street fighter” and had to develop more discipline as a pass rusher, which most recently resulted in a career-high 11.5 sacks for the Rams last year. His PFF grade has also improved in each season since coming into the league.

And even though 11.5 sacks was easily a career-best, Fowler thought he could have easily had around 16 and has his sites set on Michael Strahan’s record.

As a first impression, Fowler’s saying all the right things, and from the way his career has progressed, it all falls in line. Last year could only be the beginning. He has five years of experience and is still only 25 years old. Hopefully, Fowler can back up these comments on the field in a few months.

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