Analysis: Kevin Dodd’s decision puts him behind the eight ball

Analysis: Kevin Dodd’s decision puts him behind the eight ball

The whole Kevin Dodd saga has been a riddle that the Tennessee Titans don’t really have an answer for.

After weeks of Dodd being missing in action from the Titans voluntary OTAs, Coach Mike Vrabel this week answered my question of Dodd’s whereabouts by saying, “Dodd is no here. So we can end that mystery.”
But really the mystery is just beginning, and so are the questions – the first one being what exactly does Dodd gain by staying away from the voluntary workouts and the opportunity to learn the new defensive system first-hand?

Dodd, of all people on the Titans’ roster, may be the most in need of a clean slate after his career has been stuck in neutral for two seasons now after being a high second-round pick in 2016. Dodd has just one career sack in those two years, and barring a turnaround this season, is on the verge of becoming GM Jon Robinson’s first major draft bust. That is especially true when you consider that Tennessee left standout linebacker Myles Jack on the board for rival Jacksonville to take just a couple of picks later.

But back to Dodd. According to a report, Dodd’s agent says he will be here next week when the Titans have mandatory mini-camp. Dodd’s agent, Michael Perrett, did not respond to messages earlier in the week.

Dodd’s anticipated appearance next week shouldn’t be a surprise, since the word “mandatory” is attached to the mini-camp. The only way Dodd would be staying away from that would be if the Titans had already hinted that they plan to move on from him.

Now when he does show up, not only will be find a new second-round pick in Harold Landry taking reps away from him, but he will also find that he has fallen behind he likes of Aaron Wallace and Josh Carraway in terms of holding on to his roster spot. And though there is no official depth chart, Dodd will likely find himself fighting the likes of Sharif Finch for whatever reps are left over to be had.

Yes, the workouts are “voluntary,” but you can bet that Vrabel and defensive coordinator Dean Pees have made a mental note regarding attendance. And they will probably expect Dodd to be caught up to the rest of his teammates who have been in attendance for the past few weeks.

Beyond the foot injury that stalled his rookie year, Dodd has been slow to find much a role with the Titans. Previous coach Mike Mularkey bemoaned his lack of prowess on special teams as a reason to leave Dodd off the game-day active roster.

Perhaps the Titans miscast Dodd when they drafted him, and he would be better off somewhere else as a 4-3 end, rather than a slow twitch 3-4 linebacker. Maybe Dodd and his agent are trying to call the Titans’ bluff and force their way out of town to get a fresh start somewhere else.

To talk to Dodd, he comes across as an extremely polite and nice young man. Who knows, maybe it is just his soft spoken nature that contributes to it, but Dodd seemingly could stand to show more high motor intensity on the field than he has displayed thus far in his first two pro seasons.

Whatever the reason for Dodd’s lack of success, and whatever the reason for his decision to stay away from OTAs, Kevin Dodd, when he reports back next week, is likely to find that he has two strikes on him before even steps up to the plate in trying to salvage his Titans career.

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