The Titans’ front seven is discreetly one of the best in the NFL. Headlined by Pro Bowlers Brian Orakpo and Jurrell Casey, the group was consistently one of the league’s best at both rushing the passer and stopping the run in 2016. They managed to accomplish the feats without someone who was expected to play a key role, outside linebacker Kevin Dodd.
Dodd was selected with the second pick of the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Instead of biting on players like Myles Jack or Derrick Henry (who they, of course, selected later), the Titans went for a 4-3 defensive end who was a bit of a one-year wonder at Clemson. Even with the scheme change, many expected Dodd to be a relief pass rusher and serve as a big help to Orakpo and Derrick Morgan.
In actuality, Dodd’s rookie season was as far from a Cinderella story as possible. Like, he didn’t even meet the Fairy Godmother. He was stuck living with the evil stepmother all year. Okay, maybe he wasn’t living with an evil stepmother, but he did deal with a nasty foot injury that kept him out for a vast majority of his rookie season.
Heading into 2017 Training Camp, Dodd’s status was unclear. However, at this point, we know that he’s fully healthy. Dodd has participated fully in every single drill so far in camp, and he will be good to go for the preseason.
At times last season, the Titans’ pass rush looked tired and overworked. This isn’t surprising considering the lack of depth on that front, with players like David Bass and Aaron Wallace being counted upon to play relief snaps. Staying on the field will be a good first step for Dodd. The preseason will be his first game action in a long time.