As the 2018 NFL Draft inches closer, it’s time to focus on one of the more athletic linebackers in this upcoming draft, Dorian O’Daniel.
The NFL has shown evolvement over the years at just about every position. One of the more notable evolvements is evident at the linebacker position.
In today’s game, linebackers are almost certain to be evaluated to have a certain type of athleticism, speed, and almost defensive back-like ability.
Today, we focus on an athletic weapon that fits those qualities coming out of national powerhouse Clemson. Here is the scouting report on Dorian O’Daniel.
Weight: 225 lbs
Stats: 201 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, three interceptions, two interceptions for touchdowns, seven pass deflections, three fumble recoveries
O’Daniel didn’t earn starting playing time until 2016, but before then, he was a consistent producer on special teams units. When O’Daniel became a starter, he posted 54 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks during the 2016 season.
He’s a versatile linebacker capable of playing both the Mike and Will linebacker positions. With his size and athleticism, O’Daniel is reliable in pass defense against tight ends as well as running backs out of the backfield. He even has the capability of rushing off the edge to get after the quarterback, a rarity for many linebackers in today’s game.
O’Daniel displays very good instincts along with the football awareness to defend several different offensive schemes.
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Where O’Daniel struggles is his ability to combat with blockers. Due to being somewhat undersized for the linebacker position, improving on his playing strength will be critical going forward. Some scouts may also question his long-term ability has he only has two seasons worth of starting experience.
Is it possible that O’Daniel is a product of the system in Clemson or is he really a true talent capable of improving a defense?
In today’s game, O’Daniel’s skill set is tailor-made to defend some of the offenses in the league. His versatility is coveted by teams and can be an asset in many schemes. O’Daniel is athletic as they come an will likely test impressively.
His draft range falls to the early to middle rounds, but O’Daniel can very well vault himself to an early day two selection thanks to pre-draft workouts.