Dion Dawkins - Temple
Weight: 314 lbs
Hometown: Rahway, NJ
Experience: 3-Year Starter
40yd dash: 5.11s
Broad jump: 106 in.
Vertical: 26 in.
20yd. Shuttle: 4.78s
Bench Press: 26 reps
Coming out of high school, Dawkins was one of the most NCAA-ready linemen in the country. In 2012, he was one of only a handful of true freshmen to start a game at tackle in the NCAA. He played in five games, starting two before a foot injury sidelined him for the remainder of his inaugural season at Temple.
Dawkins returned his sophomore year and earned his position as the Owls’ starting left tackle, except this time around he stayed in that starting spot all year. He missed one game after playing through an injury, otherwise establishing a sterling reputation in his first year as a full-time starter.
In his junior and senior seasons, Dawkins was consistent, starting in 27 of 28 games over the two year span. Both seasons culminated in recognition for his efforts, as he was awarded a spot on the 2015 and 2016 All-American Athletic Conference First Team.
Dawkins was a team leader, and in 2014 his teammates voted for him to have a single-digit jersey, a Temple tradition recognizing the toughest players on the roster. He ended up having to wear 66 as the NCAA prohibits linemen from wearing single digit jerseys, but the sentiment of his peers’ respect remains.
Dawkins has only had one fully healthy season at Temple. As a freshman, an ankle injury took him out of the season after just five appearances, two of which he started. As a sophomore, he played through a foot injury before inevitably having to sit out one game to return to form. In his junior year, Dawkins missed another game for unspecified reasons.
Run Blocking 3.75/5.0: Dawkins surveyed the field as well as anyone and showed a tremendous knowledge of his and his teammates’ assignments from play to play. He could maul a defensive lineman one-on-one just as well as he could smoothly seal off the edge of a run play for backs who benefited from the open space he created. Every run play that was directed to his outside shoulder would end with his butt facing the play-side, buying his running backs a couple seconds of daylight to pile up yards. When defenders weren’t directly across from Dawkins, he kept his eyes up and disposed of linebackers with big punches. He sometimes leaned forward a bit too much in the open field and left himself vulnerable, but off the snap he was quick and balanced. He relied a lot on a strong upper body to finish blocks, and never really paid the price for it.
Pass Protection 2.75/5.0: Dawkins was as powerful as any lineman in pass protection, and withstood many a bullrush from defenders. Poor hand placement often jeopardized his position in the pocket and he was occasionally backed into his quarterback against pedestrian pass rushers. Though his kick-slide is as quick as any, he was susceptible to losing defenders after a second move. He lost his quarterback multiple times and was frequently turned around trying to recover, leaving the pocket busted open. His hands always ended up on the shoulder pads of defenders and often started there. His punch was imposing, but that strength was minimized when his hands slid over the shoulder pads of pass rushers. For all of his technical areas of improvement, his punch and athleticism got him through a lot of games with a clean stat sheet, but he did give up a few sacks here and there to average D-linemen. Dawkins consistently played better as games went on. He showed he could figure out his opponents’ moves respond to them over the course of a game.
Agility 3.75/5.0: Dawkins’ agility was consistently impressive in how quickly he would set up outside on pass plays and his ability to handle second-level defenders in the run game. In a run play against Cincinnati in 2016, he blew up a defender on a double team in two steps, then swiftly took out a linebacker ten yards down the field. His impressive 3-cone time showed up on almost every play.
Summary: A mauler in the run game, Dawkins’ power was only outdone by his eagerness to move to the second level. On stretch plays that pulled him outside, he showed a capability to hurry outside and maintain the balance necessary to open things up for his running back. In the screen, his balance was not as secure. His technique was all over the place in the pass, with hands that wandered outside of the numbers of defenders’ jerseys on nearly every play. He was not nicked for holding very much, but his hand placement makes that a concern at the next level. His talent on tape was special, and his measurables at the combine put him in the conversation alongside players like D’Brickashaw Ferguson and David Bakhtiari. If he can get more consistent with his hands and bend those powerful legs, there will not be much a defense could do to disturb him.
Overall Grade 3.41/5.0
If Drafted by the Packers:
The closer April 27 comes, the more draft boards get shaken up and Dawkins has been mocked anywhere from the first round to the third round depending on who you ask. If he is available in the second round, passing on him becomes difficult with uncertainty on the Green Bay offensive line, especially at guard. Even with his current limitations in the pass game, Dawkins could be an immediate starter at right guard, where T.J. Lang’s vacancy opens a job opportunity for him. Whatever issues he has as a technician, his skill set would still prove valuable as a pass blocker where he could use his power to stave off the Shariff Floyds and Haloti Ngatas of the world. In the run game, his eyes, strength, and quick first step make him an asset. Dawkins prides himself on being able to pick up playbooks quickly and thinks of himself as a very coachable guy. If he can be coached to keep his hands inside and to continue learning to battle through pass rush moves, he has a bright NFL future. His 23rd birthday arrives April 26, but Ted Thompson may offer the experienced lineman a birthday call a couple days late.
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