Xzavier DicksonOLB/DE

Alabama 6-3 1/4, 263, 

33 1/2"Arms, 19 Rep, S-1.69,

(O 4.74), (U 4.68), 7.56 3-Cone,

8'4" Broad, 29.5" Vert, 4.53 SS,

Just Do Your Job. Part II.

By TOM

Dickson is a very experienced guy. He is a guy who played in a lot of big time Champ games over and over again. He brings a lot of toughness and experience to the team for a rookie. However, I just don't see how he makes the team. With two hybrid-3-4 LB/DL rushers taken ahead of him, and the signing of Jabaal Sheard to back up Jones and Ninkovich, where does he fit? The Pats did a great job of picking up a lot of talented young players in this Draft. Dickson can play. Roberts can play. Derby can play. But they seemed to have run into a clog in the roster.

You only have a 53-man roster. Only so many rookies can make the team. This team is already one of the youngest in the NFL. So when I look at the Draft, once BB takes a Long Snapper from Navy, it really is hard to fathom anyone making the team who was drafted after a Long snapper. So I struggle to finish these profiles that seem so meaningless. 

But talent is a strangle thing. They showed they could pick up a top talent after there roster was ready for the Preseason last year. When Malcom Butler was one of the last guys they picked up off the scrap heap. "[We’ll] put all those guys into the mix and try to start getting them oriented this weekend and see how it all shakes out from there," BB said after the Draft. "That gave us a pretty full roster. We’ll sign probably somewhere in the neighborhood of half a dozen or so free agent. We’ll see how that all turns out. [Director of player personnel] Nick [Caserio] and his staff are working and finishing up on that. We’ll get the exact number here whenever all that comes together, it might be a day or so. But that kind of completes the initial part of our roster here. We’ll keep working through the team-building process, as we always do. [We] saw several players come on to our roster halfway through the season or thereabouts last year. There’s a long way to go on that. I think this is just a step, a significant step in the process, but certainly not the final one. We’ll take what we have and work with it and move forward and if we can upgrade it or improve it or change it along the way as we see necessary along the way, then we’ll look at those options. I just don’t think in any way this is a final roster. It’s not even close to it. That’s it for me." So if he could find the star of the season so late, why can't Dickson, Derby, or Roberts make the team?

Okay, so Dickson had nice production against top competition the past few years. But his physical measurement where not up to stuff at the Combine. He is the proverbial football player verse physical freak guy. He is more Tully Banta-Cain than Chris Slade. Cain had a nice few years with the Pats, then San Fran for two, and back to the Pats. But when they started him he hit the QB. In the four seasons he got five or more starts he garnered 24 Sacks. One of those seasons was 2007 in San Fran (3.5 sacks). So in the three seasons he garnered 6 or more starts with the Pats he had 21.5 Sacks. But there was always something a little off with him, and he was terrible against the run. Just like Dickson. Though Banta-Cain was more speed rusher and Dickson is more of a power rusher, I think the comparison holds up. If Dickson somehow makes the roster and has a ten year career like Banta-Cain had, you will have to call this pick a great success. Even though he was drafted after a Long Snapper.

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Dickson is a fierce college edge rusher. He is limited in the run game, so he will have some limitation in the NFL. "Xzavier Dickson, a three-year starter at Alabama, real good program," BB said. "[He has]] done similar things to maybe we talked about Grissom a little bit yesterday. He’s played a lot of outsider linebacker/defensive end, and in the kicking game. Obviously been in a good program, been well coached. He’s played against a lot of good people and he’s done well at Alabama." He will line up at D-End and in an odd front to rush the QB. He usually lines up outside the OT even though it is a three man line. 

Terrific twisting inside. He can twist inside the DT and slam his way past the ORG. He has some heavy hands, but needs some technique work. He has a nice inside shoulder punch that he uses to get the inside shoulder of the ORT, and find a lane to the QB. He can really create some room with his hands. Very underrated using his hands and feet together to beat the O-linemen. Switches sides to rush. Susceptible to the chop. Plays hard and hustles to the ball every play. They subbed him in and out a lot last season, because they had about nine NFL prospects on the D-line alone. Terrific inside rip on the ORT, when the OLB blitzes. 

He uses his hands well to keep off the OGs with he rushes inside. When he can't find a lane he shuffles back and spies the QB. Hustles to both sidelines when he can find a lane. "Many sleeping on Xzavier Dickson/Alabama;" Pauline Tweeted. "Terrific 3-4 OLB prospect. Can rush the passer or play in space. Rebounded in '14 after poor '13" Terrific blitzer right up the gut. He shoves off inside blocker with some serous power. He had a nice run at the end of the season to put him back in the Draft picture. 

He had half a sack or more in a great five games run in the middle of the season. He garnered five Sacks over that stretch. He garnered at least 9 sacks for negative 49 yards last the season (defensive stats not available for Florida game). He also had 12.5 TFL for a negative 55 yards. He garnered 32 Solo tackles and 10 assists. He also got 2 PBU, and strangely returned two kicks for 7-yards (most likely on onside kicks).

Consistently puts speed to power when he gets both hands on the OT's shoulder pads. When they subbed in for him, they usually took him out on 1st and 2nd downs, and would bring him back in on 3rd and long. Great inside shoulder chub that can knock the ORT almost off his feet, and then he has a free lane to the QB. He was Alabama's only consistent rusher this past season. Consistently uses his right cross to punch off blocker's arm. He is at his best moving forward to get to the QB. He also goes over and talks to the younger D-ends and tells them what to do sometimes. Gets a ton of pressures. He was credited with 10 hurries on the season, but I saw him have 10 pressures in two games (Mississippi and Missouri), so that is BS. He can blast his way past the OLT untouched and pressure the QB into a bad throw. He can get his hands into the OLT chest, power him back, and then shove him into the QB.

He gets pushed back too easily by the OG when he stunts inside and they run. He is terrific moving forward to the QB, but he really struggles holding his ground. He is a move player. When he is not moving he is in trouble. One of the reason he is so good in the rush is that when he gets stuffed he can shove off the OG, retreat, and keep his feet moving as he spies the QB. You really can't do that in the run game. He can use his hands to get a little stubborn stetting the edge, but the OLT can still push him back with one hand. He can use his hands to throw the tight end to the ground setting the edge on short yardage. He can use his hands to get inside the tight end on short yardage, but doesn't attack the RB afterward with the same aggression he goes after the QB. When he gets a great blast off and slants inside, he can get across the formation and tackle the RB from behind on the opposite side of the field. He will consistent hold his position while getting shoved back in the run game, and then get in front of the RB further down field than you would like, but he does fight his way there. 

Plays his position with discipline and knows the Alabama defense to perfection. Plays on both sides of the D-line last year, and was the clear leader of the D-Linemen. He got more time in on the blindside this past season. When he gets his hands on the blocker's arms first is when he wins. He can put speed to power. When he plays with his hands and leverage he can rag-doll an O-Linemen. Very strong for an OLB. He really looks the part. He plays with great bend around the corner. His size and lateral agility can be special. Rushes well from both sides with nice initial burst, hands, and bend. I think he is an NFL player, but he looks like he looses to the numbers game on the Pats roster. He did play on the punt block team.

Additional Game Notes:

Mississippi: Struggles against the run sometimes. Gets his hands on guys when they run into his zone, but is more of a reach and grab tackler than a form tackler. He is just one of those guys who has that knack for tackling the quarterback, and not so much the RB. He'll miss the RB one play, and then be in perfect position to tackle the QB after he scrambles around in pure panic for 10 seconds. He can put speed to power and punch the ORT back and slip inside the corner to hit the QB. That is what he does best. Shove the O-Tackle back and slice inside to hit the QB. And he counters that with a nice Dip around the corner. A very nice inside-outside combo.

Ohio ST- When he stands up at OLB he will drop into coverage sometimes. He played a ton of D-end against Ohio St in the Champ Game, and got a sack in that game. He shows nice awareness and smarts in the Zone. He can move his feet to cut off the RB coming out of the backfield, and change direction well for a guy his size. Nice dip around the corner. When he gets his hands into the OLT's shirt he can pull himself past him with great hands and power. Nice job on stunts. He slashes inside the DT with some bad intentions. He can power the Tackle back, and has a little swim move inside to pressure the QB. 

Arkansas: They move him outside to zone the flat sometimes. Terrific stunting inside to pressure the QB. He does a nice job working his way through traffic when he is chasing the ball. He has the speed to turn the Corner on the outside. Very aggressive moving up field, and has great technique with his hands. Nice backside discipline. He smartly gets himself into position to get the RB when he has to cut back. He can physically set the edge and punch the blocker down to the round (that may have been Derby;-). Keeps his eyes on the QB and can leap up when he throws to bat the ball down. 

Missouri: He played on the strongside a lot in the SEC champ game against Missouri. Stunted inside a lot. Plays contain well. He knows when he has to protect the back side and maintains discipline. They really had him stunting and slanting a lot in the SEC Camp game. He switched sides more than I remembered. He can rush on the blindside, and hunt down the RB on a center screen with nice hustle. Terrific hitter when he catches the RB on the side. He can knock the snot out of him. When they subbed him out, Missouri seemed to be able to move the ball better early. He looked unstoppable in the rush early in the game. Missouri couldn't block him in the first half in the pass rush.

I like how he attacks O-linemen's arms with his hands in the rush. He was primarily a 3-4 OLB. However, against Missouri in the SEC champ game he was a D-End as they went 4-3 most of the game. "The first of two standout performances on the defensive line for Alabama, Dickson had an impressive game with five quarterback hurries," Gordon McGuinness said about the SEC Champ game. "He was simply too much to deal with for Taylor Chappell at right tackle throughout the game."

He has a nice blast off on 3rd and long and can really put speed to power with his hands. That is the one thing he does at an NFL level. His use of his initial burst and hands to power blockers out of his way. He can grab and pull blockers hands off his shirt in the run game sometimes as well. He does a good job of shoving off the OLT as he gets pushed back and works his way in front of the RB on runs up the middle, and meet the RB 5 to 7 yards down field. 

 

Alabama Vs Ohio ST:

This is one of the biggest plays of the game for him. He plays with great power in the rush but struggle to hold up against the run. Here he is against the best run game in the Playoffs this past season at the point as the right D-End. He gets his hands on the OLT's shirt first, and fights him all the way outside to set the edge. Then he jumps on the best RB in the land in the FBS post season, and takes him out. That was great (12:01). Right D-end. They took him out for a few plays and Ohio State rammed it right down their throats (14:45). Just like BB likes, he just does his job. Watch how he holds his position on the play to the opposite side. However, the QB keeps the ball and he is the only player in the front seven who can make a play after the misdirection. He protects the edge, punch the receiver out of his pattern, and then pressures the QB which forces a high throw that the WR drops. That was a great example of a guy doing a great job of "just doing his job".

Right D-end. He gets a great blast off and gets the OLT's outside shoulder. But he gets crushed by the double by the RB. Which allows the OLT to grab his shirt. Then he can't get his momentum going again. But it shows again that he is the one consistent rusher on Alabama's defense and he was the one rusher opponents doubled on passing downs (15:21). Left D-End. He does not do his job here. He not only doesn't set the edge, he allows the tight end to turn him around. He will look really bad against the run more than you would like (21:05). But he does hustle himself back into the play and almost gets in on the tackle, and almost recovers the fumble. But when you get spun around at the point by the tight end in the run game it is bad.

I admit I don't know what happened. But I am used to seeing him as a 3-4 OLB in my head. But Alabama was running a 4-3 in the SEC Champ game, and in this game. So he was mostly playing D-End. This play is very interesting because he is standing up here at Right OLB. His job is to get the RB. You can see that this is not great coverage. He is not Jamie Collins in coverage. But he just does his job. He gets in front of him. Then watch how he moves backwards in coverage while eyeing the QB. When the QB takes off he is the first to break his coverage and try to get in front of him (26:41). Nice. Left OLB in the Dime defense (28:49). He kind of sits in the eye of the hurricane for a second as he reads the play. He sees the RB stay in to block and then attacks a little late.

Left D-end. Again he doesn't blast off the snap, but stands as though he is going to drop. The QB fumbles the ball. Watch the late burst as he explodes through #81 and forces the QB outside into his teammates hands (30:57). You can see him delay off the snap to hold contain on the QB. Ohio State likes to run a lot misdirections to one side an roll out the QB to the other. You get a great look at him shoving the tight end back, and then extending his inside arm into his chest as he reaches for Jones (31:10). Here he is as the "moved-out linebacker" in the right Slot. He just his does job in his zone.

Right D-End. He is terrific stunting inside. All three edge rushers the Pats took can look better rushing inside than trying to turn the corner. #57 sets a nice pick for him on the OLT, and the OLG is a little late to adjust. Dickson swings inside with a nice burst and Rips his way to the QB to pressure Jones into another bad throw (32:20). He gets good position inside, but it is a reverse. He gives up contain, but does a nice job hustling outside and back into position (43:01). Left D-End. This is what he does best. He gets that odd delayed burst up field as he reads the play action. Then watch the second burst as the OG pulls over. Watch how he turns speed to power with an inside shoulder club that knocks the OG almost off his feet. Then he has a lane to the QB. Once he gets his hands on the QB he doesn't let go (43:32). That should have been a Safety. You can see him slide inside just a little as he reads the play action. (44:03). The reason I think he has a chance to make the team is watch the second burst. That second burst is what caused all the problems for the ORG. Dickson gets his outside shoulder, but the ORG's momentum was all wrong. Dickson knew it, and watch how he torques the ORG past him, and pulls himself into the inside lane to the QB. That ball should have been spotted on the one-foot line, where Jones, foot came down after he tried to throw it.

Right D-end. He sets the edge with two shoves, and then cuts inside after the RB (44:24). Left D-End. He slants inside and almost swims over the ORG (50:27). Left OLB. He gets his hands on the ORG's arm, and quickly swims over him to find a lane to the QB. He leaps up into the QB's face as he throws, but Jones makes a good pass over his pressure (50:41). Right D-End. Anytime he makes a play in the run game it is big. He bursts inside, shoves off the OLT, and goes and gets Elliot. That was real nice run defense against an OLT many think will be a 1st round pick in 2016 (53:15). Right OLB. He is standing up, so look for him in coverage first (54:03). Watch the heavy hands as he punches and clubs off the tight end as he tries to get to the RB. He finally does and sticks a should into him to stop him cold. Unfortunately it was a play action.

Right D-end. Here he is using his burst, speed, and hands to hit the QB as he is throwing, but Jones throws through the pressure again. That is why I think Cardale is a top ten pick in 2016 (1:02:05). Right D-end (1:02:49). Right D-end. This was a nice rush. Watch how he uses his hands and feet to keep the tight end away, and then the great move to shove the RB flying past him. Then he shoves the tight end up field and cuts under him. He has such great hands in the rush (1:04:36). He uses his hands and feet nicely to keep the OLT off of him so he can get in front of the RB (1:04:58). Standing up in the Nickel just doing his job. He shows his nice hands again, as he shoves off he OLT to go and get in front of the RB (1:06:41). Right OLB. This is terrific run defense here by Dickson (1:09:21). He has been moving relentlessly to the RB all quarter. The RB gets the ball. Watch the power as he knocks the tight end three yards inside. He gets right in front of Elliot, and grabs him and brings him down.

Alabama Vs Ohio State:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwwdM-RwdfQ

 

 

Dickson's Bio:

 

Throughout his college career (2012–2014), he appeared in 39 games for Alabama. In his last season before entering the draft, he logged at least 0.5 sacks in five straight games and finished the season with 9.0 sacks, 42 tackles, and 12.5 tackles for loss.[2]

 

Dickson's Bio:

 

OUTLOOK: An outside linebacker who has started six games at Alabama while playing in 33 during his career ... has 49 career tackles with 8.5 tackles for loss (-35 yards), five sacks (-28 yards), a pass deflection and one forced fumble ... gained valuable experience as a reserve linebacker in 2011, as one of seven true freshmen and nine total newcomers to see action during his initial season at the Capstone.

JUNIOR (2013): Part of Alabama's every-down rotation at outside linebacker ... played in all 13 games and had 13 tackles with five solo stops ... added two tackles for loss (9 yards) with a sack (8 yards) and two quarterback hurries ... earned Defensive Player of the Week honors against Georgia State ... suspended for the Sugar Bowl. Virginia Tech: Helped on two tackles in the win over the Hokies at the Georgia Dome. Texas A&M: Recorded one tackle for loss in the win at College Station. Colorado State: Added another solo stop while affecting the quarterback with one hurry. Ole Miss: Made one assisted tackle in the 25-0 win over the Rebels. Georgia State: Registered his first sack of the season (8 yards) as the Tide held the Panthers to 175 yards, including 15 yards rushing ... had two tackles. Arkansas: Assisted on one tackle in 52-0 win over the Hogs. LSU: Made two assisted tackles off the bench against the Bengal Tigers. Mississippi State: Accounted for one solo tackle as the Tide limited the Bulldogs to 53 rushing yards. Chattanooga: Came off the bench to make one assisted tackle. Auburn: Made one solo tackle and was credited with a quarterback hurry against the Tigers.

SOPHOMORE (2012): Played significant time at jack linebacker, appearing in all 14 games with six starts ... totaled 33 tackles, 3.5 sacks (-15 yards), five tackles for loss (-19 yards), one forced fumble, one pass breakup and four quarterback hurries. Michigan: Did not start as the No. 8 Wolverines employed a spread attack that caused Alabama to play more nickel and dime coverage (5- or 6-DBs). Western Kentucky: Made his first career start at rush-end linebacker ... recorded a sack and forced a fumble that thwarted a Hilltoppers drive in Alabama territory ... also recorded a quarterback hurry. Arkansas: Assisted on four tackles, including one for a loss ... also registered a quarterback hurry. Florida Atlantic: Made two tackles (one solo) as the Tide's starting unit allowed only 35 yards of offense by the Owls in three quarters of action. Mississippi: Assisted on three tackles and was credited with two quarterback hurries in win against the Rebels. Tennessee: Collected four tackles and broke up a pass in start against the Volunteers. Mississippi State: Assisted on a tackle for loss in start against the Bulldogs. LSU: Named one of the defensive players of the week by the Alabama coaching staff ... started for the fourth consecutive game ... made five tackles (one solo) in the key win against the Tigers. Texas A&M: Had six tackles, with two solo stops and a shared two-yard sack. Auburn: Made two tackles (one solo) in Iron Bowl start. Georgia: Registered a career-best two sacks, taking down of Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray ... had five total tackles, with three solo stops and two sacks for loss of seven yards.

FRESHMAN (2011): Saw action in seven games (Kent State, North Texas, Florida, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Tennessee & LSU [BCS]) ... finished with three tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss (-7 yards). North Texas: Saw significant action as a reserve on the defensive front ... made one solo tackle, which resulted in a loss of two yards. Mississippi: Tallied half a sack for a loss of five yards. LSU (BCS National Championship Game): Came off the bench in the fourth quarter to make one solo tackle in the Tide's 21-0 win.

HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL DATA: Gave the Tide a talented defensive end prospect who can play the run and rush the passer with equal prowess ... No. 22 in the ESPNU 150 and the No. 48 in the Rivals100 ... ESPNU and Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 4 defensive end prospect in the 2011 recruiting class ... a consensus four-star prospect ... Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 10 player in the state of Georgia ... No. 8 defensive end nationally by Tom Lemming and the No. 86 player nationally ... SuperPrep All-American and the publication's No. 12 player in the state of Georgia ... ranked 80th in the Scout 100 ... 2009 and 2010 first team AAAA All-State selection ... No. 33 in the Mobile Press-Register's Super Southeast 120 ... made six tackles and 1.5 sacks in the Under Armour All-America Game ... as a senior in 2010, recorded 19 sacks and 25 total tackles for loss ... had 20 quarterback hurries while fighting off double teams most of the season ... earned defensive All-Area Player of the Year honors ... finished his junior season in 2009 with 94 tackles, 14 sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery for a touchdown ... had 10 receptions for 200 yards on offense ... picked UA over Georgia, Florida and Notre Dame.

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