To say the Falcons need help pressuring the QB is a gross understatement.
They ranked 29th in the NFL in sacks in 2019, and they haven’t had a consistent edge rusher since the great John Abraham. The Falcons acknowledged their lack of a consistent rush by acquiring Dante Fowler on a big, multi-year deal, hoping he can become a top-flight quarterback chaser where others have failed.
Fowler had his most productive year last year with the Rams. The big question is if he’s finally solidified himself as a top EDGE rusher that brings in double digits sacks consistently, or if last season was an outlier.
Over his 5 year career (4 active, thanks to injury), the former 3rd overall draft pick has averaged a little under 7 sacks a year. After his season ending ACL injury his rookie year, Fowler was a bit slow out of the blocks with 4 sacks. Actually, for a 3rd overall pick, Fowler was underwhelming until his break out season last year at 11.5 sacks.
So, due to the fact that he has yet to put up multiple double digit sack seasons also considering his yearly average, I’ll set the baseline at 8 sacks.
Case for the over
Dante Fowler certainly has the athleticism, physicality and speed to put up double digit sacks consistently, and last year should be just the beginning. Fowler also will be united with his college DC in Coach Quinn and appears to have a chip on his shoulder after the slow start to his career. Let us not forget that he will be playing next to one of the best DTs in the game in Grady Jarrett.
Given those factors and that he appears very motivated this coming season to prove the doubters wrong and the Falcons right, he could string together multiple double digit sack seasons.
Case for the under
As stated earlier, last season was Fowler’s first double digit sack season. We have yet to see if he can be that productive on a yearly basis. Another aspect to consider is that even though Grady Jarrett is easily a top 3 DT in the NFL, Aaron Donald is on a different level altogether.
Donald drew massive amounts of attention, and Fowler clearly benefited. As it is for many players on this Falcons defense, consistency is a question for Fowler.
What say you, Falcons fans? Has Fowler finally turned the corner? Is he the pass rusher he was drafted to be, or was last year an anomaly? Where do you think he finishes in the sack column in 2020?