2018 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Duke Dawson
Weight: 208 pounds
For Dawson, his burst helps him in multiple ways. Working primarily from the slot, Dawson stayed inside on middle routes. On the outside patterns, Dawson’s second gear helps him drive on the ball. Despite his stocky frame, Dawson will stay with receivers on vertical routes. He gets up to full speed in a hurry. In that case, Dawson jumps slants and sloppy outs.
From the snap, Dawson mugs the wideout. Armed with a repeating jam, Dawson disrupts routes with blunt physicality. After those five yards, Dawson will either use close contact or the veteran move of the should and head turn. That is to say, Dawson runs close to the wideout, using his shoulder and turning his head just in time. When diagnosing plays, Dawson reads the hips of the wideout first.
Due to Dawson’s frame, do not expect lithe twitchiness. On the other hand, Dawson’s nimbleness is a product of timing. He reads the pattern and will drive on the ball on short routes
With a fearless demeanor, Dawson attacks the ball. Moreover, his hand-eye coordination helps him snare an interception. As a result, two Dawson’s six career picks were products of tipped passes. On the other hand, Dawson traces a shape route for the ball and will fight for the ball. If he cannot secure the ball, Dawson adeptly dislodges the ball with either a punch or slap of the ball.
When Dawson does secure the ball, his first move is upfield. Like a running back, Dawson follows his blockers and traces a path to the end zone. As mentioned, three of his six career picks ended up as touchdowns. More importantly, Dawson averaged 21.2 yards per return.
Like his coverage, Dawson’s aggressiveness bleeds over into his tackling. In fact, Dawson squares up and drives his opponent backward. Furthermore, Dawson sifts through the wash and finds the ballcarrier, driving him to the turf.
For three seasons, Tyreek Hill and other wideouts that line up in the slot continue to enjoy great success in the slot versus the Raiders. From DJ Hayden to TJ Carrie, slot corners never carved out a clear role on the team. Meanwhile, Dawson could step into the job and give the Raiders a thumper in the slot. Granted, Tyreek Hill can blow by anyone. Yet, if Dawson gets his hands on him within those five yards, Hill will have a difficult time.