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All-22 year in review: Buffalo Bills LB Tyrel Dodson

What’s the depth situation?

Signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft, Tyrel Dodson has managed to stick with the Buffalo Bills through two seasons now. Relatively speaking, Dodson has done well. Appearing in 25% of snaps during the 2020 season, Dodson looked to be breaking into the depth conversation alongside A.J. Klein. This season showed a stronger preference toward Klein, but we all know that might not carry over for various reasons. Let’s dive into the (limited) film and take a look at Dodson’s 2021.


Play 1

With A.J. Klein out for the Wind Game vs. the New England Patriots, Tyrel Dodson answered the call as the Bills spent about half the game playing an actual 4-3 defense. Dodson looks like he was asked to stay out of the pile and float to the needed gap. Which he does successfully.

Play 2

For this play he’s flowing with the pile and there’s no good way to avoid being blocked. Dodson appears to try to shed and come back to the runner but is unable to do so. He’s near the tackle, but not really part of it. This isn’t a “shame on you moment” for Dodson, but it should be noted for the larger body of work.

Play 3

This is a tough spot for Dodson as he’s against a pulling lineman and there’s a physics disadvantage for sure. I don’t expect him to stop the guy in his tracks but Dodson is pretty easily handled to the outside.

Play 4

Take pretty much all of this article with a grain of salt. Dodson played limited snaps this year, and last season’s All-22 isn’t available for me. That said, in limited snaps I like Dodson less in zone coverage than I do with other aspects of his game. Read-and-react skills and open-field tackling are both a tick below what you’d want to see on this play.

Play 5

I like him better in a more man-coverage situation. This likely starts in zone, but he’s sure of his responsibility right away and is like glue on the route.


Summary

There’s a reason Tyrel Dodson has stuck around for two seasons as an undrafted free agent and, no, it’s not entirely due to special teams where he sees a ton of work. Dodson has more flaws than the players ahead of him on the depth chart (Earth-shattering news, right?). However, he does have some strengths that a coaching staff can lean on if he’s called into action.

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