When the Jacksonville Jaguars took University of Florida defensive end Dante Fowler with the third overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, they were expecting him to be a hard hitter… on the field.
Since then, he’s found himself in legal trouble multiple times. First, he was arrested on misdemeanor assault and resisting arrest charges in March 2016. That incident occurred in Miami and led to Fowler entering a diversion program.
More recently, the 23-year-old was arrested on July 18, 2017 on three misdemeanor charges – first-degree battery, criminal mischief, and petty theft. That came after a confrontation in an apartment parking lot in St. Petersburg. During the scuffle, Fowler was seen arguing with a man (allegedly because the man insulted Fowler’s driving). He was then seen punching the man and stepping on his glasses before throwing a bag of newly purchased liquor into a lake.
For his participation, Fowler was facing nearly a year in jail.
Instead, the former SEC standout has opted to plead no contest to all three of the charges. As part of his plea, Fowler will get 12 months of probation, 75 hours of community service and over $1000 in fines.
After missing his entire would-be rookie season, Fowler has underwhelmed the team over the past two years. While Jacksonville has succeeded overall – especially on defense – the former third overall pick hasn’t even pushed himself into a starting role. He’s appeared in every game over those two seasons but made just one start. In 2017, Pro Football Focus graded Fowler as just the 93rd best edge defender in the league.
It’s unlikely the team would move on from such a high draft pick so quickly but with his struggles both on and off the field, Fowler is certainly making himself seem more expendable.