Summary: Early on in his Clemson career, Dodd was buried on the depth chart. He had a total of 21 tackles over three years before a breakout 2015 with teammate Shaq Lawson. Dodd totaled 62 tackles with 23.5 for a loss, 12 sacks, and one forced fumble on the season. He put an exclamation point on his breakout performance with a tremendous National Championship game against Alabama. He abused the Crimson Tide's right tackle with speed and power to record three sacks of quarterback Jacob Coker.
Dodd has the skill set to be a starter in the NFL. He has size and length at the point of attack. Around the edge, Dodd has some quickness and uses his hands at the same time to shed blocks. He is thick and a little tight, thus he isn't a burner speed rusher around the corner. Dodd has a nice burst to close on the quarterback and fights hard to get coverage sacks.
In the run game, Dodd can hold his ground and also is good at getting upfield to cause disruption. He has the strength in his base and upper body to maintain his gap. It wouldn't hurt for him to continue to add functional strength for taking on pro offensive linemen.
In speaking with sources, they see some issues that Dodd needs to work on as he gains experience. They say that he is tight and doesn't have much position versatility. Teams feel that he needs to develop more pass-rushing moves. They say that he shows a hard inside slant off the snap and a "wax-on-wax-off" around the edge, but he needs to develop more moves. Thus, Dodd is a developmental project.
For the NFL, Dodd would be a good fit as a base end in a 4-3 defense, but isn't a good fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Teams feel he is not an ideal athlete to be a standup edge defender. They say he is an above-average athlete, but not special or very athletic. Thus, they don't project him to play in space or drop into coverage like 3-4 linebackers are required to do. In a 4-3 defense, teams feel that he would be best as a left defensive end to go against right tackles, but they have concerns that powerful right tackles could wear down Dodd with their mass.
In the 2016 NFL Draft, Dodd has a range from the middle of the first round to early in the second round. Sources at some teams are grading Dodd in the second round, but across the league, team contacts expect him to go in Round 1.
Player Comparison: Kyle Vanden Bosch. Dodd is similar to Vanden Bosch. Both aren't speed demons around the corner. Like Vanden Bosch, Dodd is tight. Vanden Bosch turned into a good pro after being the 34th-overall pick by the Cardinals in the 2001 NFL Draft. During a solid career, Vanden Bosch (6-4, 278) had two double-digit sacks seasons and was a good pass-rusher. He was physical at the point of attack and did a quality job defending the run. Dodd could be drafted in the same range and turn out to be a player who is similar to Vanden Bosch.
NFL Matches: Miami, Detroit, Oakland, Atlanta, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Carolina, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Baltimore and Tampa Bay
In the first two rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft, there are a lot of teams that could consider taking a pass-rusher like Dodd, especially in the teens through the middle of the second round
Miami has Cameron Wake and Mario Williams for next year but they're both aging. Adding a young defensive end will soon be necessary for the Dolphins. Oakland tried Aldon Smith, but obviously, the team can't count on him to stay on the field. The Raiders signed Bruce Irvin in free agency, but they could consider more talent at defensive end.
The Lions could use an edge rusher to pair with Ziggy Ansah. The Falcons badly need an edge rusher to go with Vic Beasley as Atlanta had the smallest sack total in the NFL last year. Dodd could be in play for the Falcons. Buffalo could use a replacement for Mario Williams, who left in free agency.
The Colts could use a difference-maker and a young pass-rusher to replace Robert Mathis. Cincinnati could use a pass-rusher to go on the other side from Carlos Dunlap.
Carolina lost Jared Allen to retirement, while Charles Johnson was only signed to a short contract. Adding more defensive end talent could be a direction the Panthers choose to go.
Cleveland could use a pass-rusher to replace the bust of Barkevious Mingo. Paul Kruger had only 2.5 sacks last season, so if Dodd falls to pick No. 32, the Browns could end his fall.
The Jaguars could use an edge rusher to go with Dante Fowler as their pass defense has been a real weakness. If Dodd slips to the second round, he could be in play for Jacksonville if the team takes a defensive back with its first selection. Baltimore needs a young pass-rusher as Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are aging. Dodd would be a good value at the Ravens' second-round pick.
Tampa Bay would also be a potential match for Dodd. The Bucs badly need an edge rusher to go next to Gerald McCoy.