Offensive line was an underrated need for the New York Jets this offseason, but all they did in free agency was switch out Austin Howard for Breno Giacomini and re-sign Willie Colon. With some big concerns at guard heading into the NFL Draft, the Jets chose to address other needs until their third fourth round pick, when they selected Dakota Dozier.
Dozier was a tackle in college who figures to convert to guard in the pros, and he has a big learning curve ahead of him coming out of FCS school Furman. Dozier’s performance in the East-West Shrine Game is a big part of what boosted his stock, as he showed the ability to handle with higher level competition.
Dozier has good size at 6’3″, 313 lbs, and he brings exceptional toughness and physicality. Dozier has the mean streak every coach loves in his linemen, and he figures to be best as a grinder in a power run offense. However, Dozier needs a lot of work on his technique, particularly in pass protection, and he only has average athleticism. He wasn’t challenged regularly at Furman, but that won’t be a problem in the NFL. His sub par pass blocking skills are a big reason he is being moved inside. Unfortunately, the Jets’ line is filled with run blockers who aren’t good enough in pass protection, a big reason they gave up 6th most sacks in the NFL this season.
It is highly unlikely that Dozier will see the field other than on special teams this season. He simply isn’t ready to handle NFL defensive linemen, and the Jets cannot afford to throw him into the fire in the same manner they did with Brian Winters last year. Dozier figures to compete with players like William Campbell and Caleb Schlauderaff for a backup guard spot, and the Jets will likely be looking to develop Dozier as Colon’s replacement.
If he can improve his technique and avoid penalties, Dozier has a chance to become a solid guard. However, he needs a lot of coaching and development, and it could take multiple seasons for him to be ready to contribute. Dozier has some promise, but he is a big project who won’t make an impact for the Jets this season.