TCU linebacker Paul Dawson redeemed himself Friday at Texas Christian’s pro day a month after a below average outing at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
"I practiced better than I did today," the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year said. "But I still performed pretty good honestly. The scouts said I did pretty good."
Dawson did more than "pretty good." After posting a 4.93 in the 40 yard dash at the combine, he recorded 40-times of 4.78 and 4.82. The St. Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints both interviewed Dawson after his workouts were complete, and the senior expects more in the coming weeks.
"For the next two weeks, I’ll be very busy," said Dawson. "So, yeah, hopefully some more visits and some more workouts will be coming."
Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus was on hand, along with assistant director of player personnel Will McClay, and praised Dawson for his instincts.
"That’s what you’re looking for in all the linebackers you’re looking at: a guy that has good instincts that you get him in the right spot and he’s got real good instincts to make plays on the ball," Eberflus said.
Dawson has good game tape, according to Eberflus, but had a less than stellar combine performance. Eberflus was reminded of current Dallas linebacker Sean Lee.
"Sean didn’t do well good at the combine, and then he had a real good pro day and all those types of things. With any player that has that situation, you like to see them do a little bit better.
"To me, I always go by what’s on tape. What happens in the games, because that’s real. A lot of times when you’re moving around in this setting or at the combine, that’s not real football. So, to me, when you look at that, you put a pretty big premium on the game tape, not cut-ups, big attacks, game tape."
TCU head coach Gary Patterson believes Dawson is ready to make the transition into the NFL.
"One thing Paul has and I think you have to have at that level is pure talent and instincts," Patterson said. "He’s a great tackler. He reacts quick. It’s kind of like the pick he had against Oklahoma. He read the quarterback’s eyes, he made the play and he got a pick six. He’s just one of those guys that he does you can’t coach."
Eberflus says Dawson’s time in the Horned Frogs’ 4-2-5 defense is good preparation for the pro game.
"You have to be able to be a three-down linebacker," said Eberflus. "And you have to be able to play against 11-personnel, because that’s what we’re seeing now. I think it makes you more valuable as a player if you can do that."
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock had Dawson rated as the best linebacker in the draft, even after his poor combine showing. Who knows what Mayock will say now after Dawson’s impressive pro day.
"It’s a blessing to be rated as the number one linebacker in the country," Dawson said. "There’s so many linebackers and athletes out there playing the game. And to be number one, that’s a blessing."
Should Dawson be taken in the first round, he won’t be in Chicago. Rather, he plans to watch the draft with his family in Dallas.