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Cowboys 2016 Draft Prospect Profile: Clemson Defensive End Kevin Dodd

The Cowboys held their 30 national visitors earlier this month. Let's take a deep dive on one of the prospects.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This series will examine all draft prospects that have official invites to Valley Ranch. Previous research has shown these players are the most likely to be drafted by the Cowboys. For more explanation, read the opening paragraphs here.

Name: Kevin Dodd
Position: Defensive End
School: Clemson
Height: 6’ 5"
Weight: 277 LBs


Honorable Mention All-ACC

Athletic Profile

pSparq Score: 108 Z-Score: -0.9 NFL Percentile: 19.2

pSparq is an approximation of the "Sparq Score" metric invented by NIKE (with the help of former USC and current Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll), designed as a way to standardize athletic testing of High School athletes and interpret their athleticism with a sport specific formula. By standardizing a single metric composed of multiple athletic test results, it becomes possible to compare players to the athletic testing scores of players in past draft classes, and to provide context as to how a player will compare athletically to his peers at the NFL level. The Z-Score represents the number of standard deviations (sigma) above or below the mean at a particular position that player falls, 84% of players will have a Z-score of less than 1, 98% will have a Z-score of less than 2, and 99.87% will fall below a Z-Score of 3. There are currently a total of four players who are "3 Sigma Athletes" in the NFL, JJ Watt, Byron Jones, Evan Mathis, and Lane Johnson. For more on pSparq,(and the man behind the math Zach Whitman) check out

Measurables vs others at his position:

Note: This spider graph provides a visual representation of a players’ measurable traits, and combine results.  The filled in area of the chart, as well as the number in the light grey circle represents the percentile among the player’s peers by position.  A score of 85 here represents that out of every 100 players at his position, the player has a better result in that test than 85 of those 100.

Games Studied: Wake Forest, Louisville, Oklahoma, Alabama

Passing Game:

Dodd played almost exclusively left defensive end in the Tigers’ four man fronts. As a one-year starter, Dodd showed a great deal of development, especially in terms of his hand usage and technique from game to game, and especially when comparing the earliest game I studied (Louisville) with the latest game (Alabama). Early on in the season he often rushed like a player who had no arms at all, leaving big targets for his opponent. However as the season progressed he became a guy who effectively used a variety of moves to separate from blockers and create pressure. By the National Championship game he had inside and outside swim moves, a two-handed swipe move, a spin move and a bull rush in his repertoire to throw at blockers. In spite of the poor-tested athleticism, on tape he shows the ability to capture the edge, and the agility and strength to turn the corner and withstand the leverage of the blocker to close to the quarterback.

Run Game:

Dodd can be an effective run player, but he isn’t consistent In this area yet. His best plays against the run are when he goes "backdoor" against an outside run to his side and use his quickness to beat the long-reach block to the spot and get into the backfield. As he developed through the year he showed more examples of engaging the blocker, seeing the play and using strong hands and quality technique to free himself to make the play. There are times against the run when he will get hooked and turned when trying to penetrate which can leave massive running lanes. I am also a bit concerned about his balance as he is on the ground rather often.

Conclusion/Cowboys Projection:

Dodd is an interesting evaluation because of the fact that he is a one-year starter with almost no production in prior years. I am encouraged by the development he showed as the year wore on, and believe he can continue to develop but wonder if the limited athleticism will limit the upside of his production at the NFL level. He would play either defensive end for the Cowboys, but would likely be a rotational rusher early in his career until he solidified his play against the run to enable him to play full time down the road. The lack of quality edge rushers in this draft will push Dodd higher on the board than his film or testing would merit at this point, as he will likely go in the second half of the first, or early second round. He’s likely a target for Dallas at the 34th pick in the case that they take an offensive player in the first round.

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