Kevin Dodd

Titans Release LB Kevin Dodd

The Titans have released outside linebacker Kevin Dodd, according to an announcement from the team. Dodd did not report to the team on Sunday for training camp and the Titans have decided that they’re better off without him. 

A second-round draft pick by the Titans in the 2016 NFL Draft, Dodd appeared in 18 games for the Titans over the past two seasons. Between 2016 and 2017, Dodd recorded just 20 tackles and only started in one game.

Dodd’s pro career got off on the wrong foot (no pun intended) when he injured his foot during the offseason prior to his rookie year. The injury required Dodd to undergo two surgeries, which may explain why he hasn’t done much in the NFL. In college, Dodd was a force to be reckoned with as he recorded 12 sacks and 26.5 tackles for a loss at Clemson.

The release wasn’t totally unexpected given Dodd’s lack of production and the team’s edge rushing depth. This year, the Titans drafted Boston College’s Harold Landry in the second round to play behind edge rushers Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo. Besides them, outside ‘backers such as Aaron WallaceJosh Carraway, and Gimel President are on hand and fighting for roster spots.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Place Kevin Dodd On DNR List

The Titans have placed outside linebacker Kevin Dodd on the reserve/did not report list to begin training camp, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Dodd, a second-round pick in the 2016 draft, has already had an odd offseason, as he declined to attend voluntary organized team activities earlier this year. While the word preceding OTAs is “voluntary,” it’s nearly unheard of for a player still on his rookie contract to skip those workout sessions. Now that Dodd hasn’t reported for the start of Titans camp, it’s fair to wonder if another shoe will soon drop.

Dodd was already on thin ice on Tennessee’s roster, as the Titans drafted Boston College’s Harold Landry in the second round to play behind edge rushers Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo. If the 26-year-old Dodd doesn’t end up making Tennessee’s 53-man squad, other outside ‘backers such as Aaron Wallace, Josh Carraway, and Gimel President should be given additional opportunities.

Despite his draft status, Dodd has only appeared in 18 games and made one start over two years with the Titans. Health issues limited Dodd in 2016, and he was placed on injured reserve in December following a nagging foot injury.

AFC Notes: Titans, Dodd, Kearse, Manziel, Patriots,

It’s a crucial offseason for Titans linebacker Kevin Dodd. Despite being the first pick of the second round back in 2016, his early draft status doesn’t assure him of anything due to his lack of production his first two years in the league. Dodd is apparently skipping voluntary OTAs, and will find himself squarely on the roster bubble heading into the 2018 season writes Jim Wyatt of Titansonline.com, who says “he’s going to have to earn his spot on the team.”

With a brand new coaching staff that has no ties to him, it’s a puzzling move for Dodd to be skipping OTAs. He was a much hyped prospect coming out of college, but has appeared in just 18 games through two seasons, making only 12 total tackles.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel has repeatedly deflected when asked about Dodd, and as Wyatt points out, the Titans have a lot of bodies at outside linebacker. The team recently drafted Harold Landry in the second round, a sign that their patience with Dodd is wearing thin. If he doesn’t turn it around soon, Dodd might not be on the team that spent the 33rd overall pick on him just two years ago much longer.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Jermaine Kearse is due a non-guaranteed $5MM salary this season, leading some to speculate he could be cut by the Jets. He’s currently no higher than fourth on their wide receiver depth chart and is quite expensive for a fourth option. But Darryl Slater of NJ.com thinks Kearse will make it through final cuts, saying “ultimately, I think Kearse sticks with the Jets in 2018.” As Slater points out, Quincy Enunwa and Terrelle Pryor are both working their way back from injuries, while Robby Anderson still might be suspended by the league, so the Jets may end up counting on Kearse far more than a typical fourth wide receiver.
  • Former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel made his return to professional football yesterday, playing in a preseason game with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Manziel finished the night going 9-of-12 for 80 yards (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN). After recently signing with the Tiger-Cats, Manziel will have to spend at least the next two seasons in Canada as he attempts to make a return to the NFL.
  • Patriots rookie undrafted cornerback J.C. Jackson is receiving first-team reps at OTAs and seems to be in good position to make the team, according to Doug Kyed of NESN.com. Kyed notes that the Patriots have a history of discovering undrafted gems at cornerback, including Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler. Jackson was seen as a day three prospect by evaluators based on talent, but went undrafted due to off-field concerns according to Kyed.

Titans Place Kevin Dodd On IR

The Titans announced they are placing linebacker Kevin Dodd on injured reserve. To fill his spot, linebacker Justin Staples will be promoted from the practice squad. Kevin Dodd (vertical)

Addressing reporters today, coach Mike Mularkey acknowledged that Dodd never regained his confidence after undergoing foot surgery in the spring. It’s a common phenomenon for players to show trepidation post surgery and it often leads to a dip in performance and even greater liability for further injury. Dodd, who has been inactive for the last few weeks, may have to have another procedure on his foot.

Staples did not make the Titans 53-man cut and he has been biding his time on the practice squad ever since. In 2014 and 2015, the linebacker appeared in 18 games for Tennessee and amassed three total tackles. Staples, who turns 27 on Saturday, will hope to see a larger role in this stint.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/31/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • To fill the void left by Tim Wrightwho landed on IR today – the Lions will sign free agent tight end Ben McCord, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. McCord went undrafted this year out of Central Michigan.
  • The Cowboys have signed their two fourth-round picks, defensive end Charles Tapper and quarterback Dak Prescott, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com. As a result, their only unsigned selection remaining from this year’s class is third-round defensive tackle Maliek Collins. Prescott, the more notable of today’s signings in terms of name recognition, was a three-year starter at Mississippi State and served as a major dual-threat weapon for the Bulldogs, totaling 111 touchdowns as a passer (70) and rusher (41). Tapper appeared in 39 games with Oklahoma in three seasons and piled up 13.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss.
  • The Cardinals have cut offensive tackle Edawn Coughman, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Arizona signed the 27-year-old in January, and he previously spent time with seven other NFL organizations. He hasn’t yet appeared in a game, however.
  • The Titans have signed second-round outside linebacker Kevin Dodd, as Jim Wyatt of Titans Online writes. Nine of the team’s ten draft picks have now reached deals with the team and safety Kevin Byard stands as the lone straggler. Dodd, who recorded 12 sacks last season at Clemson, has been sidelined from OTAs after undergoing foot surgery last week. The Titans have high hopes for Dodd and so does veteran Brian Orakpo. “He is just a natural pass rusher,’’ Orakpo said of Dodd. “He knows how to get after the quarterback. I love what he brings to the table. I am very excited to have him on the team. He is going to make everyone better, and we’re going to get him better and he is going to help the pass rush.”
  • The Texans have waived offensive lineman David Quessenberry with a Non-Football Injury designation, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Quessenberry has battled cancer in the past. The Texans are hoping to have him back in some capacity if he clears waivers, Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com writes. Houston could place him on the NFI list if he clears waivers. Alternatively, the team could welcome him back in a non-playing role. The Texans re-did Quessenberry’s deal on April 20th to include a full salary split, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. If and when Quessenberry lands on the team’s NFI list, he’ll earn $333K in 2016.
  • The Vikings have signed defensive lineman Bruce Gaston and waived/injured fellow defensive tackle B.J. Dubose, Matt Vensel of the Star-Tribune tweets. Dubose tore his ACL last week. Gaston made Green Bay’s opening day roster in 2015 and he’ll now try to do the same with an NFC North rival.

Draft Updates: Cowboys, Tunsil, Pats, Jets, Saints

The Cowboys’ later-round selections have featured some interesting near-misses. Dallas has been linked to multiple players it did not end up selecting, including new Browns edge-rusher Emmanuel Ogbah, whom Cleveland chose in Round 2. The team also eyed Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd, Tony Pauline of WalterFootball.com reports.

Even its own pick brought uncertainty after a report surfaced Friday that the team nearly unloaded its second-round pick to the Bears before taking Notre Dame injured star Jaylon Smith. Perhaps these pass-rushers going off the board contributed to the urge to wanting to trade down.

We heard Friday night the Cowboys are not going to re-sign Greg Hardy. This, coupled with the looming suspensions of Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory have left the team thin at defensive end despite signing former Eagles edge presence Cedric Thornton in free agency. It took Dallas until the fourth round to address this spot, when it took Charles Tapper from Oklahoma.

Here’s the latest from the draft.

  • The Saints traded up for the 120th pick, but according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), they didn’t get their selection in on time. This allowed the Vikings to jump the Saints, with Minnesota selecting offensive lineman Willie Beavers. New Orleans presumably still got their target in defensive tackle David Onyemata.
  • The Dolphins believe it was the former financial advisor of rookie Laremy Tunsil who released the incriminating gas mask video, tweets Andrew Abrasion of The Palm Beach Post. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the video caused Tunsil to drop from the sixth overall pick to No. 13.
  • Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan told Dom Cosentino of NJ.com that the team isn’t working to acquire another quarterback, including Nick Foles (Twitter link).
  • Pauline also notes the Patriots‘ collection of second- or third-round quarterback choices in the Tom Brady era could have included Wisconsin passer Joel Stave instead of the player they actually selected, Jacoby Brissett, in the third round. While neither was considered a top prospect, Brissett was mentioned as a mid- or late-round pick before the lesser-regarded Stave — a 6-foot-5 former Badger, who remains on the board. Stave threw for just 11 TDs last season for the run-oriented Badgers.
  • The Steelers are considering a trade to get into the fifth round, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets.

Ben Levine contributed to this report

Extra Points: Chargers, Brady, Las Vegas

With less than 24 hours to go until the draft, we have a pretty good idea of how the first two picks will go. The real intrigue, then, starts with the Chargers at No. 3. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) seems confident that the Bolts will take Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley.

While we wait to see how that plays out, here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The NFL does not see any need to reignite settlement talks with Patriots QB Tom Brady and the NFLPA, a league source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Facebook). The NFL believes that neither the NFLPA nor anyone from Brady’s camp has provided any rationale for settlement discussions, so they are not motivated to revisit that idea. The league believes the time for those talks has come and gone, Schefter writes, after the two sides had discussed a settlement last summer.
  • The Raiders will need the approval of 24 NFL owners if they wish to move to Las Vegas, but Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News figures that they already have four votes in the bag. The Rams and Chargers would likely OK the move because it would remove the Raiders from their market. Meanwhile, the Cowboys and Texans would likely approve the relocation because it would prevent the Raiders from moving to San Antonio.
  • Lions GM Bob Quinn and head coach Jim Caldwell went to Ohio State to work out offensive tackle Taylor Decker, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes. If Detroit goes tackle in the first round, Birkett gets the sense that Decker could be their guy. Decker says that he has also met with the Bills, Broncos, and Titans.
  • Johnny Manziel‘s lawyer, Jim Darnell, tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) that there has been no settlement of any kind with the quarterback’s ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley. That contradicts a previous report that indicated Manziel and Crowley had reached an out-of-court civil settlement, and suggests that Crowley will have motivation to cooperate with the prosecution during Manziel’s case.
  •  The Seahawks worked out defensive end/outside linebacker Xzavier Dickson today, according to a league source who spoke with Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Dickson, a former seventh-round pick of the Pats, played collegiately for Alabama. He also spent time with Atlanta’s taxi squad.
  • 49ers GM Trent Baalke personally worked out Clemson defensive end/outside linebacker Kevin Dodd and also brought him in for a pre-draft visit, Alex Marvez of FOX Sports tweets.

Pauline’s Latest: Falcons, Neal, Joseph, Titans

Cal quarterback Jared Goff and North Dakota State signal-caller Carson Wentz are widely expected to come off the board in that order with the top two picks on Thursday night, but there’s some uncertainty about how the next several picks will play out.

After speaking to several people around the league, Tony Pauline of WalterFootball.com takes a shot at forecasting how picks three through eight will go. In Pauline’s view, the most probable scenario would see DeForest Buckner land with the Chargers, Jalen Ramsey to the Cowboys, Myles Jack to the Jaguars, Laremy Tunsil to the Ravens, Ronnie Stanley to the 49ers, and Joey Bosa to the Browns.

Ezekiel Elliott is a wild card – if he’s still on the board at No. 8, the Browns could potentially trade down with a team like the Dolphins – but otherwise Pauline’s predictions for the top eight seem entirely plausible. According to the draft scribe, the Chargers feel like they “desperately” need to add a standout defensive lineman, while the 49ers also covet Buckner, so that’s a situation worth watching too.

Here’s more from Pauline:

  • While Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee has frequently been linked to the Falcons at No. 17, Pauline hears that Clemson linemen Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson are also in play. According to Pauline, head coach Dan Quinn has been pushing for the team to select safety Keanu Neal, though that’s probably only a possibility if Atlanta trades down.
  • Washington wouldn’t mind trading down and nabbing West Virginia safety Karl Joseph, says Pauline.
  • According to Pauline, there’s a decent chance that the Titans will use one of their second-round picks to grab Ohio State wideout Braxton Miller, assuming the team doesn’t use any of those selections in a trade. Tennessee will also likely consider Buckeyes linebacker Joshua Perry on day two.
  • The Broncos plan on drafting a running back on day three, and Pauline hears that they like Auburn’s Peyton Barber in the neighborhood of the sixth round.
  • Teams are already talking to prospects and their agents in an effort to sign those players as undrafted free agents after the draft, and some clubs are creating “bad blood” with their approach to this process. According to Pauline, a couple teams have called potential UDFA targets and told them that they’re unlikely to be drafted. Those players are still optimistic about being mid-round selections, so being told that they’re likely to go undrafted has soured those players (and their agents) on those teams, per Pauline.

AFC Notes: Titans, Raiders, Vegas, Dolphins

While the defensive line doesn’t appear on the surface to be a glaring hole for the Titans, it may be more of a priority in the draft for the team than we think, says Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. One personnel man tells Kuharsky that Tennessee’s line has “no depth,” and given how deep this year’s draft class is at that spot, it makes sense that the team would use at least one of its picks on a defensive lineman.

Here’s more from across the AFC:

  • Richard N. Velotta of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has more details on the presentation Raiders owner Mark Davis is making in Las Vegas later this month. Per Velotta, Davis is appearing before the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee on April 28th to address the proposed Vegas stadium. The committee will be tasked with determining whether to recommend the project for state funding. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report first reported on the meeting on Wednesday.
  • Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd, who recently visited the Seahawks, is paying a visit to the Dolphins today, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). As Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes, the Dolphins have shown plenty of interest in Clemson defenders this year, having done “significant work” on linebacker B.J. Goodson, who is also visiting the team.
  • The Steelers have yet to make a decision on the fifth-year option of outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes. Pittsburgh has until May 2nd to reach a verdict on the 2013 first-round pick. Last year, 12 of 32 selections did not get their options picked up.
  • Mike Rodak of ESPN.com explores whether or not it makes sense for the Bills to use an early- or mid-round pick on a quarterback in this year’s draft.
  • Contrary to an ESPN report, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel aren’t currently living together in Los Angeles, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

La Canfora’s Latest: Browns, Goff, Titans, Eagles

Earlier this week, we learned that a high-ranking official told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that he believes the Browns have their sights set on Jared Goff at the No. 2 overall pick, rather than fellow quarterback Carson Wentz. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com thinks the same thing, writing today that Cleveland offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton favors Goff.

According to La Canfora, many Browns scouts prefer Wentz to Goff, so the Browns’ front office and personnel department isn’t unanimous when it comes to a QB preference. But there’s some concern about Wentz’s lack of experience against high-level opposition, and a belief that the analytics favor Goff. So if the Browns do select a signal-caller with the second overall pick, which isn’t guaranteed, La Canfora believes it will be Goff.

La Canfora’s latest piece at CBSSports.com includes plenty of other noteworthy tidbits, so let’s dive in and round them up….

  • The Titans have at least two trade offers on the table for the No. 1 overall pick that they consider “worthy starting points toward an eventual deal,” and La Canfora says rival teams expect GM Jon Robinson to eventually deal the pick. “They’ll market it up to the draft to get the best ransom they can, but they’ll move it,” said one executive for a team that has explored moving up. If the Titans do keep the first overall pick, La Canfora expects Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil to be the choice.
  • The Eagles are “in love” with Ezekiel Elliott, and there’s a chance he’ll be Philadelphia’s pick at No. 8. La Canfora continues to believe the team’s interest in quarterbacks is a smokescreen, but notes that some executives think GM Howie Roseman is set on making a big splash on draft day, which could mean nabbing a QB.
  • Scouts who have talked to La Canfora uniformly prefer Clemson’s Kevin Dodd to his teammate Shaq Lawson, and like Alabama’s Jarran Reed more than A’Shawn Robinson. “I really hope there are people in this league who like Robinson more than Reed,” one top evaluator said of the Crimson Tide duo. “That just makes it easier for us.” Robinson is viewed as a player whose stock is being overstated by mock drafts, as is Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple.
  • Several teams, including the Chiefs, are very high on Louisiana Tech defensive lineman Vernon Butler, who is expected to be a first-round pick, per La Canfora.
  • La Canfora expects TCU’s Josh Doctson to be the first wide receiver to come off the board.
  • The Steelers are doing a lot of homework on cornerbacks, leading La Canfora to believe they’ll probably go in that direction in the first round.