You might ask, who is Kevin Dodd? Don’t worry, I was in that boat pretty recently. Prior to the National Championship game, where Dodd recorded 3 sacks by the way, he was often the afterthought on a defense that featured first round projections in Shaq Lawson and Mackensie Alexander. In his first season as a starter, Dodd kept up with Lawson’s production as he matched his 12.5 sack total. After a breakout season, he elected to forego his senior season and enter the draft.
Name: Kevin Dodd
Class: Junior (RS)
Projection: 2nd Round
Comparison: Chandler Jones
- Explosion on line of scrimmage
- High Football IQ
- Lack of pass rush moves
- Ineffective inside defender
As previously mentioned, Dodd isn’t a household name in the draft community, although you may recognize him after his tremendous performance in the National Championship game against Alabama. Like Lawson, Dodd follows a long-line of star defensive ends at Clemson. He may even complete the trifecta and be one of three Clemson players drafted in the first round this year, joining Lawson and Mackensie Alexander.
Dodd’s size makes him a perfect fit in a 4-3 scheme. He has great length with active hands which he effectively uses to get favorable leverage when pass rushing. Dodd needs to add more moves to his repertoire – while he does posses great power, he tends to rely on it too much at times; I’ve seen him display great bull rushing potential, however.
For a player with limited experience like Dodd, he flashes a high football IQ and plays with great awareness. Noticeably, he rarely gets fooled on read options and he deals with double teams well. He excels at diagnosing plays.
What I love most about Dodd is his effort and how he never gives up on plays. He plays with a great motor and is excellent in pursuit. He flashes good lateral movement along the line as well.
Despite a breakout year, Dodd draws many red flags from scouts. For one, he lacks experience for a player already 23 years of age. His age alone may turn teams away from making him a first round selection. As a reserve linemen he saw limited production. Some make the conclusion that Dodd’s production was a product of team’s focusing more-so on Lawson opposite the line.
From a skill standpoint, Dodd needs to become a more polished pass rusher, although he does flash great potential. On tape, he makes a limited impact on the inside of the line. He could stand to refine his technique a bit.
Some experts speculate an increase in Dodd’s stock leading up to the draft, but I think he’s spiked as a borderline 1st round prospect – more likely to end up in the 2nd. You talk to my colleague Keet and he’ll talk highly of Dodd, as he even prefers him over Lawson. I just don’t think you can go too high on an inexperienced 24 year-old (to be) rookie.