The good news for Dawson is that he looked noticeably better Friday at TCU's pro day. Specifically, his time in the 40-yard dash improved significantly from 4.93, which could be reassuring for teams that were questioning his athleticism after the combine.
Despite his combine showing, Dawson (6-foot-0 1/8, 235 pounds) remains a favorite of some teams and he likely will be one of the first linebackers -- excluding edge rushers -- off the board.
Dawson led TCU, which finished 12-1, with 136 tackles during the 2014 season, when the Horned Frogs (12-1) finished eighth nationally in scoring defense and 18th in total defense. TCU uses a 4-2-5 set, and Dawson is seen as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme by some analysts and an outside guy in a 4-3 set by others.
Dawson is the top-ranked linebacker in the draft by NFL Media analysts Mike Mayock and Lance Zierlein (their linebacker rankings do not include LBs who are seen as edge rushers). Zierlein calls him an "outrageously productive linebacker with a nose for the ball." Dawson said in mid-March that he had visits with five teams set up.