As the Falcons gear up for training camp, an intriguing name has popped up on the waiver wire.
The Titans have released 2016 second-round pick Kevin Dodd, an OLB/DE hybrid and Clemson graduate who put on a show in the team’s National Championship win and cemented himself as one of his class’s premiere pass rushers.
Dodd’s tenure with the Titans has, well, been tough, between injury struggles and an absent summer with Tennessee that led to him not reporting to training camp and being subsequently released.
We have no idea what exactly led to him not reporting, but it shows the Titans implementing a Patriots-esque culture in their backyard. It’s not our place to guess, but you do suppose if Dodd has just decided to do something else.
If not, and things just really weren’t a fit in Tennessee, would Atlanta be a spot he would land?
I mention this not as “hey, the random player got released, he could be a Falcon!” Two of Dodd’s old teammates, DE Vic Beasley and DT Grady Jarrett, are on the defensive line, and the Falcons have shown interest in defensive linemen from the school in the past. They also drafted DE Malliciah Goodman in 2013, a player who carried over into the Quinn era.
Dodd showed in college what he was capable of, but he’s showed in the pros what he’s lacking in. With only one sack in two seasons, and neither of those having him being fully healthy, it’s fair to wonder if he’s better suited for a reserve role in the NFL.
Guys have overcome far more in their careers, and Dodd is clean off the field. Him not reporting to camp at such a young age is a bit concerning, but then again, you never know what someone is going through.
Atlanta has a strong culture, and people on the team rave about the Brotherhood all the time. Perhaps that’s what could help the young Clemson alum settle into the league.
Plus, Atlanta could use a little depth up front. Beasley and second-year rusher Takkarist McKinley will start, and Brooks Reed and Derrick Shelby will spell them both, but Vic and Takk have had their injury problems over their young careers (nothing awful, though), so maybe the team could use just one more veteran rusher to round out the roster?
Plus, Dodd’s got the versatility the team loves. He could also perhaps play a little strongside linebacker behind De’Vondre Campbell if it was needed. He’d be a lock for special teams, too. Plus, in Tennessee, he was in a 3-4 front. The Falcons utilize more 4-3 looks, which could help him fit in more naturally to what he ran in college. The Titans apparently leaned on him heavily as an OLB, so maybe DE is just where he’s meant to be?
The Falcons could, hypothetically, claim him, but you’d imagine teams would want to do their homework first, considering his exit from Titans. If he makes it through the waiver wire, he’ll be eligible to sign wherever.
With his connections to Beasley and Jarrett, the team’s interest in Clemson defensive linemen and the need for depth, this time, it actually makes sense for the random player who got released to link to the Falcons. We’ll see if that amounts to anything.