Paul Dawson is a stud, that's all there is to it. The former Horned Frog was obnoxiously productive during his time in Fort Worth and I came away from watching his film with very little negatives to say as far as his on the field performance goes.
Dawson is a rangy, athletic linebacker who does just about everything well. He has the size to blitz, shed blocks, and lay the wood in the run game, as well as the quick twitch speed to mirror receivers well, covering backs and tight ends with ease.
Dawson fits the mold of faster, more athletic linebackers that are currently taking over the NFL. With the NFL becoming more and more of a passing league, linebackers like Malcolm Smith, KJ Wright, and Keenan Robinson among others have become extremely valuable to their respective defenses.
Dawson does just about everything pretty well. He is instinctive, and reads plays very well. Not afraid to stick his nose in the run game, and an absolute stud when it comes to pass coverage. Has the quick twitch athleticism to mirror backs and receivers man to man, and also does well in zone coverage. Reads and diagnoses plays well, which especially helps him recognize when to back into coverage and when to attack on a delayed blitz (something that is very underrated in his game). Has a nose for the football and is a flat out play-maker.
Dawson could add some weight to his frame, provided it would not hinder his speed. He could also have better form when wrapping up ball carriers and has a tendency to try to lay the big hit with his shoulder rather than wrapping up. However, overall there are not many holes in Dawson's on the field game. Off the field is another concern, as rumors have swirled around the TCU product that he was often a handful while at Fort Worth
Lets take a look at some of Dawson's film:
Here, Dawson shows you how quickly he can close in on a play (I realize that no one blocked him), but with no hesitation, Dawson flew to the ball and made a solid tackle.
Here, Dawson shows off his ability to read and diagnose plays, as well as his athletic ability as he makes a difficult catch to haul in the interception which he promptly returns to the house.
Here, Dawson fights threw traffic and blows up a running play in the backfield (two different angles).
Here, Dawson shows you how quickly he can close, tracking down the quarterback for a big loss sack (once again a slightly delayed blitz)
On the very next play, Dawson once again gets pressure on the quarterback, and although you would like to see him wrap up the quarterback and drop him for a safety, his disruption causes a poor throw which was intercepted in the end zone by one of Dawson's teammates for the touchdown.
In my eyes, Dawson is without a doubt a first round talent. Dawson should firmly be on the Redskins radar if they decide to trade back in the first round. If I'm Scot McCloughan and Dawson is still on the board when the Redskins are on the clock at #38 overall, I'm jumping up and down with joy. Take a second and imagine the potential of another athletic, rangy, play-making linebacker lining up beside Keenan Robinson, with the NFL becoming more and more of a passing league, I believe it would be a wise investment.