The Tennessee Titans used the 33rd draft pick in the draft to select Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd.
Dodd, who stands 6-5, 277, likely will be used by the Titans as an outside linebacker to rush the passer.
Dodd blossomed into a standout pass rusher in his senior season for the national runner-up Tigers, making 86 tackles with 23.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.
The Titans have been looking for additional pass rushing help behind veteran starters Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo. Last season when Morgan was lost with a shoulder injury, the defense overall and the pass rush in particular, suffered greatly for the Titans.
Dodd was a reserve defensive end at Clemson during his first three seasons, having not compiled any sacks during those seasons before bursting onto the scene as a senior.
“It was all based off of opportunities. In this business sometimes, you have to play the waiting game. Basically, my opportunity came, and I took full advantage of it,” Dodd said.
In selecting Dodd, the Titans bypassed two of the highest rated linebackers in the draft in Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack, both of whom are bothered by knee injuries and would have had some risk involved. Smith went one pick after the Titans chose Dodd, while Jack went three picks after Tennessee to AFC South rival Jacksonville.
Titans GM Jon Robinson said Dodd better fit what the Titans wanted to do.
“We’ve talked about both of those guys for the last couple of days. But Kevin was a really nice fit for us. Our linebackers coach, Lou Spanos, went down and worked him out. Mike (Mularkey) and I spoke to him on the phone yesterday just to catch up with him again, and his length, his power, he’s got good hips, he’s got good lateral agility, he’s got good pass rush skills and he can play the run as well. He was a very nice addition for us,” Robinson said. “We’re very excited to get him.”
Dodd said he had a feeling the Titans would select him after Spanos worked him out at his pro day.
“At my pro day, the linebackers coach got to work me out. I knew they needed help at that position. I knew it was a possibility I just didn’t know when I was going to get pick,” Dodd said.
Dodd was in Chicago for the first day of the draft, but when he was not chosen in round one, he went home to Taylor, S.C., where he got to call early on day two from the Titans.