Chicago Bears First-Round Prospect: Clemson OLB Kevin Dodd

A detailed scouting report on Clemson edge rusher Kevin Dodd, a player rising up draft boards and one who could be on the Chicago Bears first-round radar.

The Chicago Bears have gone to great lengths to rebuild the defense with young, long-term players. 

That effort will continue in this year's draft, most likely in the first round. 

With that in mind, I broke down game film of Clemson DE/OLB Kevin Dodd, who is rising up draft boards and is now considered by some as a Top-15 prospect. 

Kevin Dodd, Clemson (6-5, 277) Senior, Age: 23

Accomplishments

A backup his first three season at Clemons, Dodd became the starter his senior season. In 2015, he totaled 23.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. In the national championship game against Alabama, he had five tackles for loss and three sacks. He was named ACC honorable mention last year. He finished his senior season with a sack in each of his final five games. 

Combine Results

40-yard dash: 4.86

His arms are an ideal 34 inches long.

Pro Day Results

Vertical jump: 30.5 inches
Broad jump: 9-2
20-yard shuttle: 4.44
3-cone drill: 7.17

Positives 

-NFL-ready body with wide shoulders and heavy legs. 
-Experienced rushing from a 2-, 3- and 4-point stance. 
-Decent flexibility. Can bend and turn the corner. Very effective rip move which he uses to overpower offensive tackles as he works around the edge. Good club move.
-Quick feet and active hands. Good agility to sidestep blocks. 
-Physical at the point of attack. Can rock blockers on their heels at first contact. 
-Almost effortless working past blockers that lean too far forward. Quick swim move helps him fly right past. 
-Active in pursuit down the line. Will make plays from the back side. 
-Has upper-body strength to out-muscle blockers once he's locked up. 
-Quick feet and agility allow him to slip through tight cracks. 

Negatives

-Doesn't extend his arms consistently. Too often allows blockers into his chest. 
-Not explosive off the ball. Takes him a few steps to get to full speed. 
-Must improve pass-rush arsenal. Relies on rip and bull rush. Rarely uses a counter or an effective swim move, and never uses a spin move. 
-Doesn't use hands well to fight off blocks. Cut blocks hurt him. 
-Has tendency to dip shoulder when taking on blocks, which cuts off one side of the field and limits his vision. Alabama had a lot of success running at him when he used this technique. 
-Cannot play 5-technique defensive end. Does not stand up well against double teams. 
-His mindset of pursuit can hurt him, as he ends up sliding down the line too early and giving up his outside contain. 
-Rarely used in coverage. 

Is Dodd worth the 11th overall pick in the draft? 

Dodd shows serious flashes of potential on film. He's a powerful, active defender who posted elite numbers his senior year for the Tigers. His play in the national championship opened a lot of eyes to his overall skill set. 

He's not a classic speed rusher and it takes him a step or two before he's at full acceleration, but once he's there, he's tough to handle. His rip move is dangerous, which he uses to gain leverage and drive around the corner. 

Dodd's upper-body strength allows him to shock lead blockers, when he squares up, and typically puts fullbacks and pulling guards on their heels. 

He has desirable NFL size and active feet. He can change directions quickly and shift through the wash to track down ball carriers. Once locked up, he has the power to bend blockers at his will, particularly when he wins the leverage battle. 

Dodd had most of his success with his hand in the dirt, which allows him to fire off the ball quicker and with better pad level. He was effective in a 2-point stance but that reduces his burst. 

The main problem with Dodd is that he's not explosive and lacks technique when taking on blocks. His tendency to turn his shoulder away from contact is a huge red flag and something he must correct at the next level. While he can turn the corner, he doesn't give himself the opportunity to do it consistently because he doesn't come out of his stance quick enough to beat offensive tackles to the edge. 

Dodd also struggles to create separation with arm extension and shed blocks. Most of the plays he made in college were due to his quickness and shiftiness, not because he can stack and shed. Bigger offensive tackles are going to give him trouble. 

Mock drafts are all over the board with Dodd, with some projecting him as high as 14th overall, while other have him falling into the middle of the second round. 

For the Bears, Dodd would be expected to play outside linebacker and he lacks the ability to have an immediate impact at the position. Right now, he's a backup-caliber OLB with upside. He's going to need to be coached up before he becomes starter-level. 

Dodd has the physical characteristics of a long-term NFL player but he's still a project, which doesn't give him the value the Bears will be looking for with the 11th overall pick. It's unlikely he'll fall out of the first round, as the buzz around him increases each week, but if he does drop to the Bears in the second round, he'd be great value. 

But Dodd is not a Top 11 player ... yet. 


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