Welcome back to another edition of Friday favorites. This week I will be breaking down Troy Dye, the senior linebacker from the University of Oregon.
Linebacker is the most important position group on any defense. Looking back at the league’s most successful teams throughout its history, very few had linebacker corps that were sub par. From the ’85 Chicago Bears lead by Mike Singletary and Otis Wilson to more recently Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013.
The mold for your typical starting NFL linebacker has changed in recent years. Speed and athleticism is preferred over the hard hitting run-stuffing-type linebackers. Standing at 6’3″ with a very lean frame, Dye fits the NFL’s current line backer mold.
The linebacker was asked to play a big role in the Ducks defense as a freshman coming from Norco High School. In 10 games he compiled 91 tackles, 5.5 sacks and one interception. The next two seasons, he tallied 107 and 109 tackles respectively to go along with 20 tackles for loss, five sacks and two interceptions those two years.
Oregon fans were surprised yet pleased to hear Dye was returning for his senior year to lead a dynamic Ducks defense, one that finished fourth in turnovers forced, 22nd in total defense and 13th in sacks. However, Dye did face a minor setback as he broke his thumb in October and played with a cast the rest of the year tallying up 84 tackles – tough kid.
What really gets me excited about Dye is his athleticism and physical traits. He is not the most gifted athlete at the position in this year’s class but he’s up in the top five. Check out my breakdown after watching Dye’s tape.
Dye is a prospect to get excited about on Day 2 of the draft. Ideally, I see him working best in a 3-4 defense as he possesses the ability to play both inside backer and kick outside to edge lining up in a two-point stance. He will probably start off as a nickel package player seeing most of his reps on second-and-longs or third downs with opportunities on special teams.
The good news for Dye is NFL teams are in nickel defense about 60% of the time, according to Football Outsiders in 2018. I believe he would fit best on the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos just to name a few. Expect his name to get called between picks 70-85 in the third round of the NFL Draft.