Undersized pass rushers need other traits to make them effective and Erick Fowler has all of those traits programs are looking for to make up for him not being the ideal size.
The Manor, Texas native has explosive qualities he can bring off the edge and it’s why he is such a coveted recruit for programs like Texas, LSU, and Alabama.
Fowler has great initial quickness and shows very good lateral agility. His speed combined with the power he has for his size are his greatest assets. He doesn’t have ideal length for an edge player so it’s paramount that he maintains his athleticism no matter how much weight he ultimately gains.
When stood up on the edge, he is a stout at the point of attack. His first step allows him to win at the snap and he brings violence. He needs to get better at disengaging and has to be the first to the punch because of his lack of length, but he can be extremely tough to block when he attacks half the man.
His quickness helps him play in the opponents backfield the majority of the time. He is fast enough to make plays from the backside and does a great job of adjusting to the zone read and tackling in space. His power when slanting inside overwhelms a lot of the players he faces at the high school level, but once again, he needs to use his hands better to disengage because it won’t be as easy in college.
When lined up off the ball, he struggles to recognize blocks and is fixated on the backfield rather than the lineman coming to block him. He does not show natural instincts versus the run when aligned that way, although he definitely has the speed to pursue sideline to sideline.
He has awesome potential to rush the passer, but needs to learn to attack the outside edge and develop his hands and pass rush moves. He can convert speed to power though and if he can develop some counters to go with that, he can become a highly effective pass rusher.
I did not see him drop into coverage, but he appears to have the athletic tools to do well if asked to do so. In my opinion, he would be more of an asset to defense rushing the passer the majority of the time.
I believe he is a stand up player on the edge at the next level, most likely in a 3-4 defense.
Fowler doesn’t have the ideal measurables, but the speed and power he brings to the table make him make him a potentially great player off the edge. He has the raw tools to develop into an outstanding player and start for multiple seasons.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach).