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Top linebacker Paul Dawson disappoints at the Combine


TCU’s Paul Dawson entered the Scouting Combine widely viewed as a very good prospect, and perhaps the best linebacker in the 2015 NFL draft. He’s leaving the Combine with some questions about his athleticism.

Dawson ran a 4.93-second 40-yard dash, far slower than expected, and he also had just a 28-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-1 broad jump. Those wouldn’t even be good numbers if Dawson were a big and powerful run-stuffer, but Dawson is only 230 pounds. If you want to play linebacker in the NFL and you only weigh 230 pounds, you’d better be fast. And now we know that Dawson isn’t fast.

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said on the broadcast of the Combine that he was surprised by Dawson’s time because Dawson looks on tape like he’s faster than that.

“This was the guy I thought was the best 4-3 will linebacker in the draft, and he ran a 4.9, which stunned me. But his instincts and quickness, I mean, he was just phenomenal on tape,” Mayock said. “If you watch his tape against Minnesota, it’s as good a linebacker tape as I’ve seen in years.”

Considering that Dawson has already admitted he was “tardy a lot” and would routinely show up late to workouts at TCU, the fact that he either couldn’t or wouldn’t get himself in good shape for the Combine has to be considered a red flag. Dawson will still have a Pro Day workout to do better, and maybe some team will like his tape enough to take him in the first round despite the bad workout numbers. But Dawson’s stock has surely dropped today.