The 2016 second round pick of the Tennessee Titans, Kevin Dodd, has decided to skip voluntary OTAs. A move that should seal his fate.
Every football fan or analyst knows that when voluntary OTAs come around, the word voluntary should be sandwiched between quotation marks. While a team’s coaches will always insist that the organized team activities are truly optional, there is no doubt that those same coaches take note of who shows up and who doesn’t.
Last year, Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry drew up a bit of a stir when he skipped voluntary OTAs. As it turned out, Henry was in school in pursuit of the degree he left in his wake when he decided to enter the NFL Draft early. Henry didn’t have to show up for the optional practices, although it would’ve been beneficial in his second offseason, but he had a perfectly valid excuse for missing out.
This offseason, the notable absence from voluntary OTAs has been one of Henry’s draft classmates, DE/OLB Kevin Dodd. Unlike Henry, Dodd didn’t make any sort of impact in his rookie season, though he was limited by a foot injury that lingered from college and ended up getting him placed on season-ending IR. In his second season, Dodd appeared in just eight games, failing to record a sack in any of them.
With two lost seasons already under his belt and a new coaching staff in control, 2018 was a chance for Dodd to start with a clean slate. Instead, Dodd chose to work out on his own while most of his Titans teammates were in “Phase 3” of OTAs. Though Dodd will reportedly report for mandatory minicamp this week, there is already a negative stigma surrounding him with the new coaching staff.
I, personally, have been adamant that Dodd just isn’t a fit in a 3-4 scheme, which is what the Titans ran under Dick LeBeau. With scheme-versatile Mike Vrabel and Dean Pees coming to town, Dodd’s career looked likely to be revived, at least in an attempt. Dodd’s decision to skip an important week of team-building, both with players and coaches, has probably sealed his fate. At 25 years old (will be 26 once the season starts), Dodd’s time in Tennessee is likely done. He just hasn’t shown anything from production or potential standpoints to this point in his career (and even in college), and now his desire to mesh with a new coaching staff is in question.
Titans GM Jon Robinson would probably like to hold out as long as possible in terms of making a big decision on his first-ever second round pick, but the recent developments surrounding what seems to be a finally-healthy Dodd should make releasing Dodd before the season a no-brainer for the savvy shot-caller.