Photo of Paul Dawson
Drafted By: Bengals
  • Round 3
  • Pick 35
  • Overall 99

Combine Results

5.83 ?
  • 4.93 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 21 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 28.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 109.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 4.49 SEC
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"Paul Dawson's tape is as good as anybody's in the country. He is a little bit like Chris Borland. The question is why he wasn't a first- or second-round pick. He's not a tester; his measureables weren't good. And, there are questions about character." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'0" Height
  • 31 1/2" Arm Length
  • 235LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/2" Hands


Had dominant 2014 campaign, leading TCU with 136 tackles, including 20 for losses, and making 4 interceptions on his way to being selected Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Big 12. Played in 12 games (7 starts) in 2013 while leading the team with 91 tackles (10 for losses). Had five 10-plus tackle games. Transferred to TCU in 2012 after one season at Trinity Valley Community College and was leader in special-teams tackles with seven. Wasn't recruited by many out of high school, so enrolled at Trinity as a receiver out of Dallas Skyline High School.

Pro Day Results

40-yard dash: 4.75 and 4.77 seconds
Vertical jump: 30 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 4 inches
3-cone: 6.76 seconds



Flexible, agile athlete with good lower-body build. Outstanding instincts. Sees what is happening on the field and senses what is about to happen. Always plays downhill, attacking line of scrimmage. Second-level ghost who is a nightmare for offensive linemen to engage. Instantly unlocks hips and bursts to chase outside. Smooth lateral movement with ability to change direction and mirror running back into the hole. Gets skinny and slips blocks. When blocked, doesn't stay wired to blocks. Chases sideline to sideline. Excels in pass coverage, allowing just 35.7 percent of passes against him to be completed. Tough play demeanor. Plays hard and practices hard.


Not a wrap-up tackler and needs work in finishing blocks. Freelances and sometimes lacks discipline to maintain assignments. Instincts of a middle linebacker but likely too small for the position. Has to win with speed over power as a blitzer. Scouts are very worried about his personal character and say he's not beloved within the program. Questions have been raised about his commitment to the process. Not a film studier.

Draft Projection

Round 2

Sources Tell Us

"He's an early round player without any question, but you don't have to dig around very deep or very long to realize that his personal character is going to be a major issue for some teams. My grade will be two rounds later than just the talent grade. It has to be factored in." -- AFC West regional scout

"I'll make sure he stays alive in our building because he's that good." -- NFC national scout

NFL Comparison

Jessie Tuggle

Bottom Line

Outrageously productive linebacker with a nose for the ball. Dawson averages a tackle every 5.3 snaps and either caused or recovered a total of 8 turnovers during the 2014 season. Evaluators understand that Dawson has been a handful while at TCU and that will turn some teams off to him completely. Dawson can play inside in a 2-gap scheme but is a natural fit at 4-3 WILL.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.