Furman has been able to tap into the talent in and around South Carolina and put some talented players into the NFL. This year, their offensive tackle in Dakota Dozier could be the next Paladin to have his name called. Dozier has a good amount of size and strength with long arms and Furman has moved him all over the line in different situations with experience at tackle and both guard spots.
For the NFL, Dozier has an intriguing physical skillset with raw, unpolished strength and great physical tools that could make him a nice guard for years to come. His footwork is slow and a little too deliberate but he can play tackle in a pinch. Dozier seems to be a great fit in a gap scheme that wants to play downhill and impose their will, likely at right guard. He seems likely to go somewhere on day three where he will likely need a year to get acclimated but has the potential to be an effective, starting right guard in the NFL.
Vitals & Build
Dozier measured in 6’4” 313lbs at the scouting combine with 33 7/8” arms. Despite a relatively ordinary performance at the combine on the bench press, Dozier shows some impressive functional strength on the field. He has a good with long arms and does not appear to carry a much extra weight around his midsection. Dozier appears to be able to continue getting stronger as he goes to the next level.
Dozier’s overall athleticism appears to be somewhat ordinary in testing and on the field. He is not the swiftest in terms of foot speed which is part of the issue. However, it seems like Dozier leaves a little in the tank when it comes to his movement skills. This is not a case of laziness or not giving his all.
Rather, there seems to be a level of comfort and control that Dozier does not want to leave as it would impact his ability to stay in position to be a good blocker on the move. They move him around and have him kick out a good amount, but he always seems to prefer to move in a way where he is always ready to punch or make a block no matter the situation.
Dozier is able to get to the second level well enough and he has been used to kick out, but he is not really suited to do much pulling. He can move, but is best utilized when his assignment is relatively limited and he can impress with his athleticism rather than fall short going for longer assignments. Since Furman has moved Dozier around, he does have experience pulling and trap blocks, but it is not terribly smooth and there are times where he is simply unable to get to his spot in time.
Dozier is a powerful run blocker who can jolt people with his initial punch, lock on and drive an opponent down the field. He has shown he can land knock down blocks and overpower the competition, able to create space consistently for the running game.
Dozier has a good sense of working his feet and putting himself in between the ball carrier and the defender as long as he is focused. There are some mental lapses where he tries to outmuscle guys instead of using good positioning and has gotten away with it in college, which could be more problematic in the NFL.
The way he moves, when he goes to the second level or loops, he stays in position where he is broken down, able to make a quick hit and land a block. Although there are some instances of it happening, it prevents Dozier from doing much lunging and he is pretty good when it comes to hitting a moving target. Usually, if he misses, it was because he did not keep his feet moving enough.
So while Dozier may not look pretty in how he gets to the second level as he slides up the field, he is pretty consistent with landing his assignment and creating that crease for the ball carrier to exploit. And with his strength, he tends to only need to land the block in order for him to make an impact and shut a player out of the play.
Dozier is somewhat mechanical in his pass protection, especially when at left tackle. His footwork tends to have long steps and while he covers a decent amount of ground and can have trouble adjusting to counter an inside move.
Dozier seems almost uncomfortable on the edge when he is not engaged in a block. When he lands the block, he is tough to beat, able to control the opponent and stone the opponent. He can end up oversetting and have trouble maintaining his balance when he has to respond to a quick move.
On the other hand, Dozier seems far more comfortable and at home in pass protection inside at guard. He does a nice job of staying at home, waiting for the block, confident in his range and his length. Dozier is able to keep his head on a swivel and slide and help in protection as needed. He has the athleticism necessary to cover that type of ground and is extremely tough to beat in a phone booth.
He really can anchor well and take on power effectively. The only things that give him trouble are the threat of speed that can take him off balance and open up options both with speed and power against him. Dozier can do the job as a tackle in a pinch, but he seems far more comfortable, confident and suited to play inside at guard when it comes to pass protection.
Dozier has a strong punch and has been able to work opponents into a good position as a blocker. For example, engaging in a block on the wrong side of an opponent and being able to maneuver himself to shield the opponent from the play. He does a pretty good job with angles and holding his water and allowing opponents to come to him in pass protection.
Dozier’s footwork tends to be long and mechanical. He knows where he needs to go, but how he chooses to get there can be awkward and make it difficult to be effective. When he is pass blocking or pulling, his steps can be too long and make it difficult for him to adjust.
Dozier is going to need to continue working to get quicker in his footwork and overall more agile to be more effective with quickness and adjustments during the play. He is effective enough to do the job, but leaves a lot to be desired.
The other thing that can get Dozier in trouble is when he simply stops his feet and reaches, whether it be on the run or pass protection. In some situations, he will end up leaning rather than continuing to work his feet under him and be thorough with his block.
Dozier is best suited to play guard and should be in a gap scheme focused on power; specifically on the right side. He is not great when it comes to pulling and his feet are not ideal, but he has all of the strength and is able to be an effective pass blocker in a phone booth.
His range is not ideal in general, but he is good inside and has terrific ballast and arm length that can help make up for some of his lack of agility with his feet. It seems like Dozier could need a year to get accustomed to playing in the NFL and that level of competition, but could certainly be a starter in the league for a while if he continue his development.
Dozier’s game and path to the NFL are similar to that of Will Rackley of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rackley was a 3rd round pick out of Lehigh in 2011 with that same type of build; arms and length like a tackle with feet of a guard coming from a small school and likely moving inside. Rackley has not found a ton of success in the NFL, but Dozier could succeed where Rackley has struggled in the NFL.
Dakota Dozier played all over the line in his time as a Furman Paladin. He has the power to be a good run blocker and has really looked good in pass protection inside at guard. Dozier will have to get used to NFL competition and needs to continue to get better with his feet, but he has the talent to be a starter at the next level. As a result, he warrants a third day pick to a team running a gap scheme.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com