MOBILE-When you’re watching a practice that has over fifty players taking part in an assortment of drills all over the field, it’s tough to see how each individual prospect is performing.
The key is to stay focused on a few players throughout the session by observing how they match-up against the competition and how well they perform in their position-specific drills.
But as you focus in on a select group of prospects, there will always be at least one guy outside of that group that finds a way to grab your attention.
For the North team here at the Senior Bowl, one of those players is Oregon tight end Ed Dickson.
In two practices this week, Dickson has demonstrated impressive bend out of his breaks, has dropped his pad level well when asked to change directions and has generated great acceleration as a route-runner. He’s made plays in the short passing game and has flashed the ability to get down the seam and haul in the long ball as well. In addition, Dickson found the end zone twice at practice Tuesday morning, once in one-on-one drills and once in 7-on-7s.
Wes Bunting and I caught up with Dickson after Tuesday morning’s North practice session and asked him what it’s like playing against some of the best competition in the country. “Amazing.” Dickson told us. “It’s all good guys. You get to compete against the best out here every day. You can’t help but get better.”
Dickson, who was voted 2009 First Team All-Pac-10, caught 42 passes for 551 yards with six touchdowns for the Ducks this past season. He finished his four-year career in Eugene with 124 receptions for 1,557 yards and 12 scores.
What’s intriguing is that Dickson was joined on the All-Pac-10 team by rival Oregon State quarterback Sean Canfield, who is now a teammate of Dickson’s here at the Senior Bowl.
“I told Canfield the first day, ‘Do I have to put on some orange and black for you to throw me the football?’”
If Dickson continues to make plays, the North team quarterbacks will throw him the football no matter what he is wearing.
As always, let’s turn to NFP Director of College Scouting Wes Bunting for his take on Dickson:
Ed Dickson: No. 83, TE, 6040, 244
Dickson is a tall, lean, good-looking athlete who possesses an explosive element to his game. He needs to do a better job slipping the bump and cleanly getting into his routes when his hand is on the line, but when standing up off the line, he exhibits an explosive first step and gets into his routes quickly. He has an ability to consistently threaten the seam and showcases an impressive burst in and out of his breaks. He has good body control as a route runner and is doing a much better job this season setting up his routes and changing gears. Dickson looks a lot more balanced in the pass game and isn’t trying to do everything at full speed.
He does a nice job using his length to pluck the ball away from his frame and has the toughness to take a hit over the middle and hang on to the ball. He showcases a toughness after the catch and isn’t afraid to take on would-be tackles and fight for additional yards. He isn’t overly physical at the point of attack and doesn’t block with much leverage, but he does a nice job extending his long arms on contact and the athletic ability to stay in front of his man. Dickson showcases good effort blocking downfield and has the ability to consistently reach and seal defenders at the second level. He has the makings of a guy who can create mismatches in the pass game and create plays downfield.
Grade: 6.7…Contributes first year and starts second year… Must be able to get on the field and make a contribution as a rookie… Expected to start his second year in the league.