Barely a week after learning where he’d begin his NFL career, Dante Fowler Jr. will now have to wait much longer to do so.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter, the Jaguars rookie defensive end and No. 3 overall pick will miss the entire season after tearing his ACL in a minicamp practice Friday.
The Florida pass-rusher suffered the tear in his left knee during the first hour of the team’s initial minicamp, going down in an 11-on-11 drill. Fowler was carted to the locker room after his workout was halted when his knee buckled during an exchange with offensive lineman Watts Dantzler.
Fowler notched 15 sacks last season and finished his three-year Gators career with 33. Picking No. 3 for the second straight year, the Jaguars were counting on Fowler to elevate their pass pursuit. Jacksonville boasted the seventh-best sack total in the league last season with 45 but finished 22nd in pass defense.
Thirty-three-year-old Chris Clemons finished with eight sacks last year — second to Sen’Derrick Marks‘ 8.5 on the team — and looks to again be the team’s most formidable pass-rusher on the edge. The Jags can likely no longer entertain the notion of cutting Clemons, who will turn 34 in October, like they did Jason Babin last June after this development, tweets Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.
Fowler has not yet signed his rookie contract but signed an injury-protection waiver, which mandates the Jaguars “negotiate in good faith,” per Schefter, via Twitter. He didn’t miss a game in his three years in Gainesville.