Player name: Kevin Dodd
H/W: 6'5 277
Position: Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
School/Class: Clemson/RS Junior
Measureables: 4.86 40, 30.5" vertical jump, 9' 2" broad jump, 7.18 3 cone drill
- Athleticism - Dodd isn't the fastest or quickest guy out there but when he connects, it's a delight to watch. He has underrated quickness as a pure 4-3 end. Alabama could not contain him with their right tackle alone and he caused several holding penalties in the most recent national title game. While he isn't a true outside linebacker, the flashes of something good are there.
- Fundamentals - In my review of Dodd's film, he is very adept at maintaining his gap integrity. Rarely lost sight of his assignment and pursued the play even if he wasn't directly involved. I watched the Oklahoma game live and on film to see how he would handle the spread option attack by the Sooners. Dodd was pretty good in making the correct read on Johnny Football 2.0 aka Baker Mayfield. The Alabama game was a master class by him in these situations. He repeatedly demoralized the right tackle with an increasing arsenal of moves and blew up a couple of Derrick Henry runs. His run defense is on point as a result of maintaining discipline in his assignments.
- Character/Work Ethic - Excellent on both fronts, albeit the work ethic came a little later than usual. Reports out of Clemson say that he lived in the film room before the 2015 season. Motor is always running on high. No character concerns with him at all.
- Scheme fit - There are questions about Dodd's fit within a 3-4 defense as Clemson has traditionally been a 4-3 team. Although he has stood up in a two point stance more frequently as 2015 went along, he's been primarily deployed as a defensive end in a three point stance. Can he transition into an outside linebacker role after playing DE for so long? Clemson likes to mix up its coverages by using one end standing up while the other is a pure end.
- One hit wonder? - Dodd has only one year of starting experience after sitting behind some talented teammates that have gone on to the pros. Is he merely a byproduct of having virtually no one challenging him for his spot or did things finally click for him in 2015? He certainly reaped some benefits from playing opposite a talented end like Shaq Lawson.
- Arsenal - isn't just a team in the English Premier League. Dodd solely relied on his speed and quickness to get by blockers. He needs to develop better initial moves and counters to beat NFL tackles. Hand usage, due to a lack of a pass rush arsenal, suffers as a result. A speed rusher at this point and that's it. Needs to learn how to better utilize strength in his game. I've seen where he makes the right read but was too passive in waiting for the ball to come to him instead of going after it. This was evident against Oklahoma.
I liked how he stepped up in the national semifinal game against Oklahoma as The Man after stud Shaq Lawson went down with a knee injury. Really made a name for himself in the title game against Alabama when the entire planet knew the Tide schemed for a less than 100% Lawson. Yeah, he had an extremely talented defense around him but he shined throughout the 2015 campaign. It helps that he had one of the best defensive coordinators in the college game in the form of Brent Venables (who learned at the feet of the Stoops brothers at OU). It's really interesting that he goes from a 4-3 guru (Venables) to Dick LeBeau, who practically invented the 3-4 defense.
Former NFL defensive lineman turned SB Nation writer Stephen White breaks down Dodd here
Dodd and Shaq Lawson break down their title game performance
Yes I do like the pick after the initial questions wore off. While Dodd isn't a traditional 3-4 outside linebacker, he showed enough to merit a high selection from the Titans. He's a tailor made Steelers style front seven pick that can play in certain package situations as a rookie before breaking out as a sophomore in LeBeau's system aka the James Harrison/Lawrence Timmons move. If the Titans are set on converting him to OLB, I'd slim him down to the 260-265 range so he can gain some quickness off the edge but still have enough strength to slide down to end in certain situations. The benefit is that he doesn't have to play right away but can sit and learn behind the front seven depth that the team has accumulated on the edge. His situation is somewhat similar to Derrick Morgan's early years (without the injuries, hopefully). Dodd is certainly talented enough to break out as a bookend partner to either Morgan/Orakpo or Jurrell Casey after some seasoning.