Duke Dawson 2018 NFL Draft Profile

Duke Dawson

Overview
Position: Cornerback
Height: 5’10″
Weight: 202 pounds
School: Florida Gators

Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash
: 4.46 seconds
Bench press: 15 reps

Duke Dawson 2018 NFL Draft Profile

Coming out of high school, Duke Dawson was a four-star cornerback out of Dixie County High School in Cross City, Florida. Dawson was the 193rd ranked recruit and the 19th ranked cornerback in the country. He committed to Florida on National Signing Day as he picked the Gators over Florida State, his favorite team growing up. Dawson got a lot of playing time as a true freshman as he played in 11 games and started one. His finished his freshman season with 14 tackles and one interception. Against Vanderbilt, Dawson led the team in tackles with six and had four tackles against Tennessee in his first career start. In his first career game, Dawson caught an interception and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.

As a sophomore, Dawson played in all 14 games. He totaled 10 tackles on the season with a forced fumble against East Carolina. As a junior, Dawson played in 12 games and started in seven of them. He was the team’s starting slot cornerback and was considered to be the nation’s top player at the nickel corner position. He finished his junior season with 24 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and an interception. His only interception on the season came against Arkansas for a 37-yard pick six. He also forced a fumble against UMass in the season opener. In his final season at Florida, Dawson was the team’s number one cornerback. He played and started all eleven games. He totaled 34 tackles four interceptions, nine pass breakups and two tackles for loss. Dawson finished the season tied for first for interceptions on the team with C.J. Henderson.

Strengths

  • Good instincts
  • Solid speed
  • Athletic
  • Good hands
  • Tough tackler
  • Can make plays in the open field
  • Great in zone coverage
  • Playmaker
  • Dangerous with the ball in his hands

Weaknesses

  • Undersized
  • Red zone liability
  • Struggles against bigger receivers
  • Not a corner that could match up against elite receivers
  • Really only a nickel cornerback
  • Tight hips

NFL Comparison: Brian Poole

Teams With Need at Position: New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Chargers

Projection: third to fourth round

Bottom Line

Dawson will most likely end up being a nickel cornerback in the NFL. When he was at Florida, he was a great nickel but struggled on the outside even though he had four interceptions on the season. His size is a bit of an issue and gets picked on a lot in the red zone. Nonetheless, he should be the starting nickel cornerback for whoever drafts him. He is physical enough to disrupt routes but is also a good tackler. He is very similar to former Florida Gator and starting nickel for the Atlanta Falcons in Poole. Dawson should have a successful career in the NFL and be an asset to whoever drafts him.

Embed from Getty Images