Teams looking for help on the offensive line -- particularly at offensive tackle -- will have their work cut out for them in the 2017 NFL Draft. There are only a couple highly-touted offensive tackles in this class, which means that teams will have to take a close look at some lesser-known prospects.
The New York Giants could very well be one of those teams in need of help on the offensive line (depending, of course, on how the free agency portion of their offseason plays out). Temple’s Dion Dawkins could be a riser as the draft process unfolds. Could he be a Giant come May?
- Sports an NFL frame with a thick, powerful build. Built like a vending machine with arms and legs.
- Good run blocker, generally looks to finish his blocks or looks for work at the second level.
- Solid pass protector on the edge. Mirrors defenders well and deals well with power.
- Doesn’t panic at blitzes or stunts. Patient and works well with teammates to pass defenders off.
- College offense used both man and zone blocking schemes.
- Kick slide doesn’t look fluid, might struggle on the edge in the NFL
- Occasionally loses track of the play, standing around while he could be blocking
- Occasionally lunges for defenders, and can get run over when he does.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Dawkins sports a similar frame and game to D.J. Fluker, so if the Giants have a plan for incorporating him, then Dawkins is a fit.
The bigger question is whether the Giants view him as a tackle or a guard at the next level. His frame could go either way, with the power to stand up inside, but his agility numbers suggest the ability to play tackle at the next level. The Giants do like to have versatility in their linemen, and Dawkin’s powerful mauling style and experience blocking in both man and zone schemes could appeal to a team looking to improve its running game.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 42nd overall
CBS Sports - 56th overall
Draft Countdown - 54th overall
Draft Tek - 50th overall
Where Dawkins is ultimately selected in the draft will largely depend on how teams view him.
Some might believe that he is athletic enough that he can stick outside at offensive tackle, potentially left tackle. Others might view him as a “right tackle only” or a candidate to slide inside to guard. The first group would obviously have him rated more highly, but if he is evaluated as a right tackle or guard he could slip in the draft.
He did prove to be one of the most agile linemen at the combine with an excellent 3-cone drill, and there is a correlation between that drill and offensive tackle’s success at the next level. What position he plays will likely depend on the team that drafts him.