When the Bengals selected Paul Dawson with the 99th pick in the third round of the draft, many Bengals fans experienced a collective sigh of relief. Finally, a player who could contribute this year. We spoke to Jamie Plunkett from Frogs O' War to hear about Dawson's time at TCU and how he sees the linebacker fitting in with the Bengals.
Cincy Jungle: What do you think of the Bengals selection of Paul Dawson in the third round?
Jamie Plunkett: The Bengals definitely got a great talent in Dawson, and they got him a little later in the draft than I thought. It's cool to see the Bengals pick up another Frog, and even though Dalton and Dawson never played together, you have to think that connection and soon-to-be relationship will be good for Dawson.
CJ: Did you think he'd get drafted sooner?
JP: Yes. I think most TCU folks thought Dawson would go somewhere in the middle to late second round, early third at the latest. We can probably blame his slide on a poor combine showing and the questions of character that have surrounded him this spring. Regardless of reason, Dawson is a serious talent, and the Bengals got a steal with the 99th pick.
CJ: Do you see Dawson as someone who could make an immediate impact in the NFL? Do you think he still has some learning to do?
JP: Dawson should have an immediate impact on special teams, and he'll be able to pick up Cincy's 4-3 scheme pretty quickly. With the current state of Cincinnati's LB depth (from what I know) being relatively unstable thanks to some key injuries, it wouldn't shock me to see Dawson earn a little bit of playing time on defense early on.
CJ: What were some of your favorite things about watching Dawson during his time at TCU?
If you go back and watch any TCU game from 2014 (shameless plug: you can watch all of them under the Video tab on Frogs O' War) you'll notice that Dawson is always around the ball. In the 4-2-5 he was asked to be in coverage a ton, and asked to also be a force against the run, and regardless of task assigned he was capable of making things happen. There's a reason he wound up with 136 tackles, 5 sacks and 4 interceptions during his senior campaign.
CJ: How about any least favorites?
JP: Not really. Dawson was a JUCO transfer, so he only spent two seasons with the Frogs. He was asked to step in right away and he did so with relative ease.
CJ: Did he have any injuries during his college days that you remember?
JP: Again, not really. He missed one start for being late to a meeting but injuries never kept him off the field.
CJ: One scouting report said, "personal character is going to be a major issue for some teams" regarding Dawson. What do you think about that and were there any known incidents that may have prompted that statement?
JP: If we're speaking candidly, all of this nonsense about personal character is ridiculous. Was he late to meetings? Yes, pretty regularly. Gary Patterson has commented on that at length. But Patterson has also said that was really the only struggle with Dawson, his timeliness to meetings. Patterson couldn't fine Dawson like the Bengals can if he's late to a meeting, so I'd expect that to happen maybe once before Dawson figures things out.
CJ: Off-the-field, was Dawson known for anything during his college days (good/bad)?
JP: Dawson was pretty quiet off the field, which is always a good thing. He let his play on the field do the talking, and he really only started speaking out when his character was being attacked this spring.
CJ: Are there any current NFL players who you would compare Dawson to?
JP: I'd compare him to another former Frog, David Hawthorne of the New Orleans Saints. They're basically the same size, and while Hawthorne's 40-times are probably faster, they're both capable of covering massive amounts of ground on the football field.