The revolving door into the rushmen's meeting room has continued to spin. As Blogging The Boys editor and mastermind Dave Halprin told us yesterday, recently signed Marvin Austin was released due to a back injury that would have kept him out of the next several games. To fill the void left by the second Austin's departure, the Dallas front office has turned to a rookie seventh-round draft pick who was on the Minnesota Vikings practice squad; Everett Dawkins.
Checking in at 6'2" and an even 300 pounds, the Cowboys had a third round grade on the former Florida State Seminole. According to most draftniks, Dawkins was anticipated to be a solid day two selection even though he ultimately fell into the final round. He appears to be the kind of player that Rod Marinelli normally looks for; in their pre-draft look at Dawkins, NFLDraftScout.com had the following to say about the defensive tackle:
Positives: Thick, compact frame with flexible lower half. Gets a good jump and exhibits an explosive first step off the snap. Does a good job of maintaining low leverage on contact. Exhibits good bend in his lower half when asked to hold position at the point of attack. Consistently gets his hands into his opponent's frame. Flashes quick hands and a nice swim move to bypass his blocker to either side. Impressive agility and break down ability for his size. Above-average closing burst in space. Displays solid backfield vision and awareness as a run defender. Hip flexibility to effectively dip and turn the corner on stunts to the outside.
Negatives: May be considered somewhat undersized for the position. Lacks ideal arm length, and is locked up often as a result. Doesn't rip or swim as much as he should when considering his plus hand quickness and lack of length. Struggles to disengage when attempting to close running lanes from his anchor. Hand power is marginal at best, as he appears to "bounce" off his opponent at times when initiating contact off the snap. Resorts more to the bull rush than he should, as he lacks the natural power to consistently drive opponents off the block.
They went on to compare Dawkins to the Seattle Seahawks DT, Greg Scruggs. He is an athletic and explosive player who is something of a developmental project at the position, but he does have the potential to become an feared interior pass rusher in the NFL. He is a high-motor player, but throughout his time at FSU, Dawkins did show a tendency to play somewhat out of control.
While at Florida State, Dawkins was a second team All-ACC performer. He became the full time starter at the three-tech at the beginning of his junior season, and by the close of his senior year he had started a total of 41 games, the most of any Seminoles defender. During his senior season, Dawkins recorded 26 tackles including 1.5 for a loss and he accounted for half a sack. He also played a key role in tying up offensive blockers which allowed FSU defensive ends Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner to unleash their wrath on opposing quarterbacks. The previous season, Dawkins accounted for 25 tackles, including three for a loss. That season he recorded two sacks and an interception; he was named honorable mention All-ACC as a junior.
On a team where the defensive line has seen a tremendous amount of turnover, Everett Dawkins will become the 17th player to see action if he takes the field against the Saints. By all accounts, he has the tools needed to be a success in the Kiffinelli scheme, so now the responsibility falls to him to prove that he is ready to make his mark in the National Football League. For motivation, he needs to look no further than the fellows he will be sharing time with. Guys like Nick Hayden and George Selvie have proven that the Rod Marinelli technique can bring out the potential in a player; if Dawkins can take advantage of the chance that he has been given, he could find himself with a future wearing the star.
Welcome to Dallas, Mr. Dawkins; the land where next man up is not just a mantra, it's a way of life.