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Dante Fowler Jr.: 'Great things are going to happen'


JACKSONVILLE – Dante Fowler Jr. likes much about the Jaguars' offseason moves.

He also knows there's much he can learn from the players at the heart of those moves, veteran players such as defensive end Calais Campbell and safety Barry Church.

Campbell and Church signed with the Jaguars as unrestricted free agents earlier this month, and Fowler discussed the additions with senior writer John Oehser Thursday on O-Zone Live. Fowler during the segment discussed a variety of other topics, including his thoughts on next season and what he must do to improve on his first NFL season.

His thoughts on the free agents? They're veterans with a lot of knowledge.

And Fowler wants to learn as much as possible.

"I'm excited for the vets that are coming in," Fowler said. "I think it will be a really good mix with the young, talented guys we have and the guys who have been in positions on winning teams. They've been on big stages, so they know what to expect and how to get there.

"I'm really looking forward to hearing from the vets. They're going to show us the ropes."

Fowler spent much of the offseason in Tampa training at Impact Fitness with players such as former University of Florida teammate Vernon Hargreaves. During that time, the Jaguars added Church from Dallas, Campbell from Arizona and cornerback A.J. Bouye as unrestricted free agents.

The Jaguars already had a talented, young defense that included not only ends Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue, but defensive tackles Malik Jackson and Abry Jones, linebackers Myles Jack, Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and safety Tashaun Gipson.

"There's some talent," Fowler said. "We've just got to put the pieces together, get that chemistry and get on the same page. We want to win. We know that's there. We just have to listen to the coaches, buy in and be on the same page.

"I know that great things are going to happen for us this year. We just have to be dedicated and we have to be ready and willing to adapt and adjust."

Fowler said he long has admired the 6-feet-8, 300-pound Campbell, who made Pro Bowl appearances for Arizona in 2014 and 2015.

"He's a really great defensive tackle and a great defensive end," Fowler said. "He's a guy I watch a lot. I wish I could have his size, but I'm looking forward to him coming in. And we've got Barry Church in the secondary: he's been in the league a good long time. …

"These are guys who are able to help us and encourage. That's what we need. I think it's going to be a great deal this year."

Fowler, the No. 3 overall selection in 2015 NFL Draft, missed his rookie season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in rookie minicamp the weekend after he was drafted. He played in all 16 games last season, registering four sacks and five passes defensed.

"I've been focusing on my technique," he said. "I'm a very athletic guy. I can move and do all the athletic things, but looking at film, once I put my technique into the athleticism I can be a great pass rusher. That's what I've been focusing on – pass-rushing, getting off the ball, staying low, learning how to stay on my line and have a great countermove as well. That's my job – to sack the quarterback, and I need to do that. …

"If feel really good about myself this year going into this year. I've been working a lot on myself mentally and physically and emotionally. I'm really excited."

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