Paul Dawson   LB   TCU

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Paul is an instinctive, athletic linebacker who can play more than one linebacker position for your defense and in any style of defense. He has good size and speed and his burst to the play is outstanding -- as quick as a lightning strike. Paul has the cover skills and change of direction ability to be used to cover those bigger slot receivers and pass catching tight ends. He has the quickness and instincts to cut down those small, quick running backs in space on third downs in the backfield. He can be used to attack the line of scrimmage on blitzes and is an excellent tackler. Paul is a bigger version of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and if you use him in the same way the Steelers use Troy and let his instincts and football intelligence free on every down, you will have an explosive linebacker who defenses will need to account for on every play. Thatís the definition of an impact player. Paul has the potential in the right defense to be a playmaker and impact player on the defensive side of the ball and isnít that what the draft is all about? I call him Paul (Lightning) Dawson because he strikes like lightning right after you hear that intimidating rumble of thunder.

CONCERNS
You would like to see more bulk on Paul to handle the hitting at the next leve,l but with his body type, I donít think that will happen. Paul is not the type of linebacker that will shed blocks easily so he has to be in a defense that will allow him the freedom to work his talents or he will just get swallowed up and have very little impact.

BOTTOM LINE
Put this kid in a defense that allows him to run to the ball, use his instincts, react to the play and you will have yourself a player who will terrorize offensive coordinators like Steelers Safety Troy Polamalu has for the last ten years. Linebackers are the hardest position for me to evaluate because they are mostly scheme-oriented. By that I mean, in one style or scheme of defense, they can be a star. Put them in another style or defensive scheme and they can be cut from the team. Like the Buffalo Bills 2013 selection Kiko Alonso, Paul can be a weakside linebacker in a 4-3 defense and stay on the field for all three downs and be used as a linebacker in a 4-2-5 defensive alignment on third downs because of his athleticism, speed, quickness, instincts and form tackling. He can be used in the style of defense that uses their linebackers in robber techniques. He can be moved all around as long as you keep him off the line of scrimmage and in space to use his athletic talents; donít tie him up with one of those big offensive linemen. Paulís athletic talent and skills to play more than one position is what I look for in any player when I evaluate them for the draft. If the Steelers select him, I can see them using him the same way they used Troy Polamalu as a robber safety/linebacker causing havoc all over the field because of his instincts, quickness and his ability to time his play to the snap of the ball. Troy Polamalu is 5í10Ē 207 lbs and was 16th pick of the 2003 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Paul Dawson is listed (as of this writing) at 6í2Ē 230 lbs with very similar speed, quickness and instincts. If Iím right about Paul, you do the math on when Paul is selected, or you can keep track of him on Robís Big Board. Most of the time players like Paul are selected in the second round like the Bills selected Kiko Alonso and if that happens, someone gets themselves one of the steals of this draft.

Drew Boylhart
JAN/2015