He is a great technician in the run game and a battler to the whistle. Dunn struggles some in the passing game. He is slightly undersized at 297 pounds and needs to add more bulk and strength.
“He’s playing at a high level, and it’s really amazing. He had a pretty good injury against LSU, and came back in that game and couldn’t finish the game. The way he’s recovered is amazing. He’s a tough young man.”
— Gus Malzahn, Auburn head coach
After transferring to Auburn and into the SEC as a senior, Auburn’s “6th lineman” proved his value last season playing for the 10th ranked Tigers
SEC-Country.com wrote about Casey Dunn when he transferred to Auburn last year.
Casey Dunn’s decision to join Auburn football had a lot to do with books.
The two-time FCS All-America center from Jacksonville State — a team that almost beat Auburn in 2015 — felt he was getting complacent at the end of his junior year with the Gamecocks. That’s when he read a book written by a Navy SEAL that changed his perspective.
“It said don’t get comfortable, don’t get in a routine,” Dunn said Saturday. “I felt like sometimes last year I was getting in that routine. I chose to maybe step out of my comfort zone and push myself to become comfortable being uncomfortable.”
If Dunn [had] stayed with the Gamecocks, he would’ve had one of the most secure starting jobs on the roster. Instead, he dove into a tough competition at center with Austin Golson, a senior with two seasons of starting experience in the SEC.
“I’m loving it,” Dunn said. “It’s a great transition coming from the FCS, just pushing yourself and growing and being able to compete at the highest level of college football. It’s been great.”
Auburn coaches say Dunn’s brains also shine through on the field. Center is one of the most mentally demanding jobs on the field, and Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has often referred to it as the “second quarterback” of the offense.
“He’s a real football-smart guy with a lot of savvy,” Hand said. “From a technique and fundamental standpoint, he’s a really good technician. Now, the thing that’s probably his biggest challenge is just when he’s in a ‘BOB’ situation — a big-on-big situation — when he’s managing down in and down out playing against SEC tackles.”
Three months later, after Dunn had made some significant contributions to the Auburn season, the website published another detailed article about the center.
Dunn wasn’t immediately thrust into the starting lineup when he arrived at Auburn as a graduate transfer this summer. He was the “sixth man” on Herb Hand’s offensive line, and Auburn called him into action during Week 3 against Mercer when Darius James suffered a neck injury.
Then Dunn suffered an injury of his own a few weeks later in a loss to LSU. The knee injury kept him away from the starting lineup against Arkansas, but he was determined to bounce back.
He starred in a 40-17 beatdown of No. 1 Georgia and earned the title of the SEC’s offensive lineman of the week.
“His toughness is unbelievable,” Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham said. “Starting with the LSU game, when he hurt his knee and just moving forward, he’s shown a lot of toughness this season. It’s just a testament to him and how hard he’s worked.”
Let’s see what comments Gibbs4potus had after reviewing film on Casey Dunn:
When I first read that the Redskins had signed a little known center/guard to replace the retired Sean Welsh, I thought they just needed an additional camp body. With every NFL team signing UDFAs to fill their 90 man rosters, it is unlikely the Redskins could find a quality player amongst the remaining players.
I’m very happy to admit that I was wrong.
Casey Dunn only played one season at Auburn after transferring from Jacksonville State. He injured the MCL in his right knee vs LSU but missed only a few games. With the 2017 season Dunn’s one and only chance to play at the highest level of college football, he made the decision to get back on the field.
Dunn had an excellent season for the Tigers. He is a great technician in the run game and a battler to the whistle. Dunn struggles some in the passing game. He is slightly undersized at 297 pounds and needs to add more bulk and strength.
Dunn has a nice ability to manipulate defenders in the run game and turn them away from the play.
Dunn must have some wrestling background because he does this very consistently.
Dunn isn’t overpowering defenders with just strength.
He only did 22 reps in the bench press at his Pro day,
but he gets nasty and finishes off his opponent.
Dunn isn’t as adept in pass protection but he is very alert. He always fights to the end and never quits on a play.
He recognizes the stunt by the defender over him, and the stunt inside by Shaquem Griffin.
Dunn is able to get enough contact on the fastest linebacker in the history of the NFL Combine to allow his quarterback to release the ball cleanly.
Here, 330 pound Trysten Hill is able to get under Dunn’s pads and get a nice push on his pass rush.
Hill gets by Dunn with eyes on quarterback, Jarrett Stidham,
as Dunn loses all technique in his protection,
but gets enough contact with Hill, to allow Stidham to slide to his left,
and complete a touchdown pass.
Dunn sometimes gets beat off the snap in pass protection.
Defensive tackle, Tyler Clark, uses a swim move to get a step on Dunn.
But Dunn recognizes the stunt coming from the defensive end, Johnathan Ledbetter.
Guard, Braden Smith, is late sliding over to pick up Clark so Dunn keeps his right arm on him while reaching to block Ledbetter with his left arm.
Dunn is able to hold the two defensive linemen for a moment as he attempts to give Stidham time to release the football.
Dunn trips backwards off of Clark’s right leg (not shown) and falls to the ground.
Stidham is sacked by linebacker, D’Andre Walker, as the offensive tackle also fails to pick up the stunt.
When I first watched that play, I thought that Dunn got knocked on his rear by the DT because he was overpowered and just needed more junk in the trunk. On further inspection, I realized that Dunn actually made a very valiant effort. If the offensive tackle would have been able to get a hand on Walker, Stidham might have been able to get rid of the ball due to Dunn’s efforts.
The last play I have to show is Dunn vs his new teammate, DaRon Payne. Payne is obviously stronger than Dunn and pushed him back in the pocket a few times. Dunn was able to adjust and battle though and keep Payne from destroying his quarterback with his quickness and effort.
Payne gets a great push against Dunn.
Dunn uses Payne’s momentum against him, and brings him to the ground allowing Stidham to release the ball.
Dunn played very well vs Payne in the run game, often turning him away from the play. Payne got some pressure when Auburn set up to pass but Dunn did an admiral job of keeping him from hitting Stidham.
Overall, I think Dunn is actually a better prospect than Welsh. He is a lot quicker and reportedly ran a 5.01 40 yard dash at his Pro day. He shows better balance and is just as smart as Welsh. I think Dunn plans to get a graduate degree in civil engineering.
Dunn is also better moving to the second level and blocking linebackers. There was a sequence of pics that I didn’t feature where Dunn blocked a player lined up over him, passed that player to the guard to his left and moved on to flatten a linebacker. The play ended up for a loss of yardage do to a teammate missing his block.
How would he fit with the Redskins?
Even though Dunn needs to add strength, he adjusts so well in pass protection that I think he could play as the backup center/guard immediately. I would give him a decent shot of making the roster but I think the Redskins probably go with Tony Bergstrom or Demetrius Rhaney in that spot this season.
Dunn wasn’t signed by any team after the draft and even the Redskins only offered him a camp tryout. The front office will probably feel that Dunn would not be picked up by another team after final cuts and that they could safely add him to their practice squad. I would be stunned if Dunn didn’t get at least a practice squad offer from the Redskins.
A season on the practice squad and a year of strength and conditioning could help Dunn adapt to the stronger and faster NFL players. He could even contend for the starting center spot in 2019 or 2020 with Chase Roullier moving over to his more natural guard position.
There is only one cutup available of Dunn and it is from 2015, when he played for Jacksonville State. If interested in watching his play in his one season at Auburn, there are several cutups of his teammates, Braden Smith, Kerryon Johnson and Jarrett Stidham. I recommend watching them but Dunn did miss some games and isn’t in all of them.
Some Tweets from Casey Dunn’s Twitter feed:
Way to step up @caseydee50 at pro day today! You competed with heart and it showed today! Hard work pays off. Proud of you.— charles dunn (@charliednestle) March 10, 2018
With the All-SEC teams being announced, I want to give some well-deserved recognition to one of the most SELFLESS players I’ve had the pleasure to coach - @AustinGolson73...His versatility allowed our unit to operate this season.#WarEagle pic.twitter.com/p1bOU1zkiW— Herb Hand (@CoachHand) December 5, 2017
Don't just see the moment, SEIZE it.— Casey Dunn (@caseydee50) September 9, 2017
As UDFAs go, rate Casey Dunn
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