Rams prospect profile: Dakota Dozier

April, 30, 2014
Apr 30
11:30
AM ET
The 2014 NFL draft is still 8 days away. Before we get there, we'll take a look at some prospects who could be of interest to the St. Louis Rams.

By now, we've covered most of the big names so the focus here will be on vetting some potential additions beyond the top 10 of the draft.

DAKOTA DOZIER

Position: Offensive tackle/guard

School: Furman

Height/Weight: 6-3 5/8, 313 pounds

Projected round: 3 or 4

Pros: Prototypical physical, mauling left tackle from an FCS school who made an impressive 45 starts in his college career. Dominated at his level, earning first-team All-American status. Strong lower body, build and demeanor make him an ideal candidate to move inside to guard upon reaching the NFL. Able to get his pad level down and play with leverage on a consistent basis. While he didn't time that well over 40 yards, has quick enough feet to get off the ball and establish position.

Cons: Struggles with some technique issues, such as hand placement, which is generally only adequate. Tendency to lean on his power too much, which can lead to lazy feet, especially in pass protection. Tendency to set too high, which leaves him susceptible to getting beat with speed to power moves. Can take a bit longer to read and react in pass protection. Solid run-blocker with plenty of upside but playing tackle leaves him too much ground to cover unless his footwork can improve.

Fit with Rams: The Rams showed interest in Dozier, one of the better small-school prospects in this draft, by reportedly bringing him in for a pre-draft visit. It's highly unlikely Dozier will play tackle, especially on the left side in the NFL, but that's not what the Rams are looking at him for. The team values versatility among its linemen and put a price on that idea by giving Rodger Saffold a lucrative contract. St. Louis has an opening at left guard and adding a player such as Dozier would give the Rams yet another movable piece like Saffold who could play on the edge in a pinch. Dozier's aggressive style fits in well with some of the basic principles of line coach Paul Boudreau, and Boudreau could likely pull the most out of a developmental prospect such as Dozier.

He said it: Dozier on making the move to guard -- “Throughout the season, I got a lot of opportunity to practice at guard but didn’t get a chance to play until late in the year, but it’s fun,” Dozier told Furman radio. “For me, I want to be as versatile as possible to any NFL that I end up with. I’ve played tackle for a long time, and I feel like, in a pinch, if they need me to, I could still play. Everybody is projecting me as a guard, so I just embrace. For the past three months, all I’ve done is just work on guard sets. It’s kind of hard to get rid of some of those tackle tendencies, but I just have to get used to the different mechanics and get ready to go.”

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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