LB Dorian O’Daniel, Clemson

6’1″ – 223 lbs. – 4.61

Redshirted in 2013, then rotated into the defense and played on special teams in each of the following two seasons, leading the team in special-teams tackles in both years. Started ten of fifteen games played in 2016, then reprised his starting role this past season. Team captain. Weakside linebacker who often lines up on the edge as more of a downhill player, but who will also shade over opposing slot receivers. On the borderline of what’s acceptable from a physical standpoint; will need to confirm height at the Combine, and would benefit from showing that he could successfully accommodate additional bulk without sacrificing athleticism. A plus athlete who looks fast when playing downhill, which is clearly his forte as a player. Athleticism and instincts allow him to blow up some outside rushing attempts in the backfield. Has enough speed to chase opposing runners to the sidelines. Patient in backside contain. Better tackler than his size would indicate; does a good job of wrapping up opponents securely. Would clearly be best in an aggressive, run-and-hit defense which covered him up with big linemen and allowed him to flow to the ball. Doesn’t have the size to take on opposing blockers and tends to try to avoid them when playing on the backside; more physical when the play is coming his way, using his length effectively. Lack of size sometimes forces him to take suboptimal paths. The type of athlete who should eventually be able to contribute in man coverage against opposing running backs or in zone coverage as more of a traditional off-the-line linebacker. Responsibilities were somewhat limited in college, also taking some snaps as a quarterback spy. At this point, technique is somewhat raw; will turn away from opposing receivers rather than into them. Tends to play very conservatively in coverage, creating easy completions underneath. Has the speed to bring down opposing quarterbacks when given a clear path, whether when rushing off the edge or when spying and closing on a quarterback who’s fled the pocket; recorded 7.5 sacks over the past two seasons. Offers an intriguing combination of speed and instincts which allows him to flow well to the ball, but whose size is marginal and whose ability to play the run is far more impressive than his work in coverage thus far. Consequently, may have to rely on his special-teams ability to contribute while he adds strength and improves his feel in coverage.

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