Top linebacker Paul Dawson disappoints at the Combine

AP

TCU’s Paul Dawson entered the Scouting Combine widely viewed as a very good prospect, and perhaps the best linebacker in the 2015 NFL draft. He’s leaving the Combine with some questions about his athleticism.

Dawson ran a 4.93-second 40-yard dash, far slower than expected, and he also had just a 28-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-1 broad jump. Those wouldn’t even be good numbers if Dawson were a big and powerful run-stuffer, but Dawson is only 230 pounds. If you want to play linebacker in the NFL and you only weigh 230 pounds, you’d better be fast. And now we know that Dawson isn’t fast.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said on the broadcast of the Combine that he was surprised by Dawson’s time because Dawson looks on tape like he’s faster than that.

“This was the guy I thought was the best 4-3 will linebacker in the draft, and he ran a 4.9, which stunned me. But his instincts and quickness, I mean, he was just phenomenal on tape,” Mayock said. “If you watch his tape against Minnesota, it’s as good a linebacker tape as I’ve seen in years.”

Considering that Dawson has already admitted he was “tardy a lot” and would routinely show up late to workouts at TCU, the fact that he either couldn’t or wouldn’t get himself in good shape for the Combine has to be considered a red flag. Dawson will still have a Pro Day workout to do better, and maybe some team will like his tape enough to take him in the first round despite the bad workout numbers. But Dawson’s stock has surely dropped today.

53 responses to “Top linebacker Paul Dawson disappoints at the Combine

  1. The combine is so overhyped it’s ridiculous. You have, in some cases, 4 years worth of actual game tape for evaluation. If that’s not enough, maybe you shouldn’t be a scout.

  2. If you want to play linebacker in the NFL and you only weigh 230 pounds

    I remember when 230 was big. Times have changed.

  3. Not a good showing at the combine but he’ll be good. For 230lbs the guy plays like a beast

  4. ketch20too says: Feb 22, 2015 3:03 PM

    If you want to play linebacker in the NFL and you only weigh 230 pounds

    I remember when 230 was big. Times have changed.
    ————————————————————-
    What are you like 85 years old?

  5. Awesome! He is horrible!! He can’t play in the NFL!

    Now comes Spielman and Zimmer to scoop up the was the best but can’t play a down rookie for some stupid drills…

    He becomes our star LB in the same fashion we took bad Pro Day,small hands Teddy Bridgewater. You know, the best 32nd pick ever….

  6. And yet, he will still be a millionaire while all the people trashing his performance on social media will be eating lunch at Applebee’s….

  7. I’m a high school DC and run the 4-2-5. I get about 90% of my stuff from TCU and I love watching them play. Dawson is one heck of a LB and he did some amazing things on the field.

    I do believe his workout today is concerning, however. There were some red flags weeks prior to the combine, and he looks like he either has trained in weeks or just started training 2 weeks ago.

    He may have cost himself a top 45 selection.

  8. Vontaze Burfict, anyone?

    The fact that he doesn’t seem to value other people’s time enough to be on time would bother me more than either his size or his 40 time. That to me is a red flag of entitlement and lack of coachability. That all being said, if all of that pushes him down to the lower 3rd or 4th round, he’s worth the gamble there.

  9. Maybe Paul Dawson is tanking his combine just like Bridgewater tanked his pro-day so he would have a better chance getting drafted by the team he wants to be on. Lol. Just kidding. Paul Dawson isn’t doing that. Still, I have been told that he and Bridgewater had dinner the night before.

  10. I remember when 230 was big. Times have changed.
    ————————————————————-
    What are you like 85 years old?

    Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks. Mike Singletary, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham(you can Google them-they are real people) all were considered big and played near or below 230. It wasn’t until mid to late 80’s that LB consistently were began to average more than 230, until then they were averaging around low-mid 220’s. Today they average about 240.

  11. Godell: “Ladies and gentlemen we have a trade. Minnesota moves back up into the 1st round. Their selection is Paul Dawson. You know, the guy that can’t run faster than a snail. Way to go Rick Spielman”.

  12. Maybe I’m naive but if I were a scout and I had to choose between 4 years of good game tape and poor combine or 4 years of average to not so good game tape and off the charts combine numbers, I’d go with the player I know can play.

    Having great instincts and being able to read the play can overcome a lack of speed, also some people play much faster than they time.

    There’s a reason that world class sprinters can’t just step in and become good NFL football players.

  13. The combine only matters when a guy runs way slower or way faster than expected. This is way slower than expected. When a LB runs that slow, you have to start to wonder if he’s going to translate to the NFL.

  14. Likely cost himself some serious money, merely with poor habits.
    When you compare him to Burfect, keep in mind, Burfect didn’t get drafted because of his poor habits/character concerns, so he lost some nice signing bonus $$$ right off the top. He righted the ship after a few years in Cincy and then got paid.
    He dug himself out of a hole he dug himself. That’s a pretty rare story. Most guys like that never recover, and end up in a bad place, forever lamenting what could have been.

  15. Combines –
    matter only to a degree. They say interviewing the players is probably the most important. Up close and personal. Trow questions of concern, etc. at him.

    Pro-days –
    Bridgewater vs. DeMarcus Russell. What more can be said?

    Game tape –
    A tad bit a little more important, huh?

  16. I don’t think he is going to run any faster in pads..i might pass if im looking for a linebacker with speed

  17. Dawson will slip to the end of the first round and be drafted by a team like Green Bay, Seattle, or New England. He’ll have a Hall of Fame career and help one of these good teams win more super bowls. People wonder why bad teams never get any better and good teams stay good, despite picking at the end of each round. It’s because the good teams draft good football players. Not bad players who run fast. When you make a tackle behind the line of scrimmage, the referee doesn’t nullify the play because you had a slow 40 time at the combine.

  18. The tape is good but you can’t coach speed. For everyone saying it’s not a big deal let’s see him have to cover gronk, graham, Bennett, or really ANY starting tight end in the NFL.

    Even better how about shady, a.p. Sproles or any running back in the flat?

    It’s not like tcu was constantly playing teams with NFL quality tight ends or tailbacks week in and week out.

  19. ketch20too says:
    Feb 22, 2015 3:41 PM

    Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks. Mike Singletary, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham(you can Google them-they are real people) all were considered big and played near or below 230. It wasn’t until mid to late 80’s that LB consistently were began to average more than 230, until then they were averaging around low-mid 220’s. Today they average about 240.

    =================================
    Dick Butkus played around 250 lbs and was very athletically gifted – a total terror in his day.

  20. FoozieGrooler says: Feb 22, 2015 4:20 PM

    The only thing the Patriots are concerned about is can he go along with the cheating, and can he keep his mouth shut?
    ————————————————————
    Did you ever notice that none (not even one) of the former Patriots now on other NFL teams have ever accused the team of cheating? Doesn;t that seem strange?

    Even that stiff Randall Gay that the Patrots dumped and who now plays for the Steelers hasn’t said a word. Maybe you should go pump him for secret information?

  21. The only thing the Patriots are concerned about is can he go along with the cheating

    Habitually late to workouts?

    His name won’t appear on Belichick’s board.

  22. vtopa says:
    Feb 22, 2015 3:17 PM
    And yet, he will still be a millionaire while all the people trashing his performance on social media will be eating lunch at Applebee’s….

    31 8

    Whoa whoa whoa, millionaires can eat at Applebee’s. Their taste applies to people of all incomes.

    Oh and carloswlassiter, William Gay plays for the Steelers. Randall Gay has been out of the league for like 4 years

  23. Yeah, the combine doesn’t really mean anything. However, if you are basically auditioning for your draft position and you can’t even get in shape to impress people during the combine, what does that say about his work ethic/motivation.

    An earlier poster compared him to Vontaze Burfict. That seems like a good comparison. This guy can obviously play but will he be motivated. Maybe he’ll listen to everything people are saying and be motivated to proving them wrong. If not, he could be Rolando McClain 2.0. He only figured it out when his career was almost over and Dallas was the only team willing to take a chance on him. It just goes to show how money can be a huge motivator.

    Whoever drafts this guy better put a lot of incentives in the contract or they’ll be sorry.

  24. LOL @ “If you watch his tape against Minnesota, it’s as good a linebacker tape as I’ve seen in years.”

    I am a native Minnesotan, and that quote does no favors for Dawson. The Gophers had (have) no passing game and have to rely solely on the run. You don’t need a ton of speed as a LB to play the run, but to be put in pass coverage against good TE’s and backs is something else.

    4.93 is up there with OL 40 times (the quicker ones) who are running at over 300 pounds.

  25. The combine in general is extremely overrated. The reason this guy looks fast on tape is probably because he is good at identifying the other teams plays and can react faster because of it. That IS football, decision making. I will take a smart player that runs a 4.9 over a dummy who doesn’t know what he’s doing running a 4.5 any day.

  26. carloswlassiter says:
    Feb 22, 2015 3:09 PM
    ketch20too says: Feb 22, 2015 3:03 PM

    If you want to play linebacker in the NFL and you only weigh 230 pounds

    I remember when 230 was big. Times have changed.
    ————————————————————-
    What are you like 85 years old?

    __________________________________

    It’s obvious your about 25, a college graduate and now know it all.

  27. The kid prepared for the most important day of his life by not preparing at all. Sounds like the Jets are going to love this kid!

  28. I remember when 230 was big. Times have changed.
    ————————————————————-
    What are you like 85 years old?

    Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks. Mike Singletary, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham(you can Google them-they are real people) all were considered big and played near or below 230. It wasn’t until mid to late 80’s that LB consistently were began to average more than 230, until then they were averaging around low-mid 220’s. Today they average about 240.

    I seriously doubt this kid ever heard of any of those guys.

  29. Shades of Michael Sam who was also undersized and slow but was SEC player of the year.

    Dawson just raised yet another red flag

  30. It reminds me exactly of Bengals Starting Linebacker Vontaze Burfict who ran the slowest 40 of the Combine 5.09 seconds for a linebacker.
    He went from a projected high draft pick to not even being drafted. The Bengals picked him up and he has been a starter since the first game he played for the Bengals and the team’s MVP on Defense several times.

    He will be alright …watch

  31. Biggest red flag would not be the actual numbers, but the fact that this guy doesn’t seem to take it seriously. Those guys are the ones who just fizzle out of the league in a year or two if they don’t get their act together.

    A lot of college stars have coasted on natural ability since Pop Warner. Can’t do that in the NFL.

  32. Im bothered by the fact he was “tardy” to more than one meeting. Tells me the guy doesn’t listen to coaches.

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