Grading the Tennessee Titans’ 2016 Draft Class One Year Later
By Luke Worsham
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER Kevin Dodd (2nd Round, 33rd Overall)
Positives: With the first of their three second round picks, the Titans selected edge rusher Kevin Dodd from Clemson. Though only a one year starter for the College Football Playoffs’ runner-up, several scouts had Dodd pegged as a mid to late first round pick. When he pulled the trigger on Dodd, Jon Robinson likely felt he was getting first round value.
Dodd’s playing style is pretty similar to that of Brian Orakpo. He’s a long and strong power rusher who specializes in setting the edge on run plays. Before his rookie season fell victim to a nagging foot injury, he seemed to be improving weekly and had become an integral part of Dick LeBeau’s pass rush rotation.
Negatives: Unfortunately for the Titans, potential is really all that Dodd was able to show during his abbreviated rookie season that ended almost as soon as it started. Luckily, there’s a good chance that Dodd’s lack of success in 2016 was all due to the aforementioned injury situation. He really never got a chance to gain his footing in the NFL because of all the time he was forced to miss in training camp and practice.
Concerns have also arisen regarding Dodd’s fit in a 3-4 defense, with his lack of twitchy athleticism often cited as the reasoning for such concerns. I have no doubts that Dodd can be productive as a stand-up pass rusher, but he’ll need to actually be on the field to do so.