The Vikings selected another 3-technique with intrigue in the seventh round, bookending their draft with pass rushing defensive tackles. In addition, the Vikings have ensured that like last year, they paired players from the same college team, perhaps in an effort to ease the transition to the locker room. Or perhaps because the Vikings only scout players from three schools. Who knows?
At any rate, Dawkins is a pass-rusher who enthusiastically rattled off half the draft class and members of the Vikings roster the first chance he could get when he was called for his media interview at Winter Park. He's clearly excited and talked at some length about the scheme that the Vikings run.
Even though Dawkins has less than impressive measurables (6'3" 292 pounds, 5.06 40-yard dash), he's been nothing but disruptive for Florida State. While his production totals leave something to be desired (26 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and half a sack his senior year) he was part of a very heavily rotated line that was one of the nation's best defenses.
Despite his size, Dawkins played with strength and was often the target of double teams, which he could beat. In the run game, those double teams couldn't always get off of him, and he enabled the linebackers behind him to make plays. He has technique issues to work with when shedding individual blockers, but he does disengage with quite a bit of regularity.
He initially came to the program as a defensive end and has the requisite movement capability you would expect, knowing how to attack spread offenses, complex backfields and stretch plays. His backside pursuit is impressive and he can move down the line to make plays on runs or even screens. He has what you would expect from a convert, playing with an explosive first step and with a high motor. When he does get under blockers, he pushes them around and makes plays, although he doesn't always win the leverage battle.
As a rusher, he's very limited. Without a lot of pass-rushing moves, he generally relies on his strength in order to get the job done. He needs to develop more here before he can become an every-down threat from the interior. With quick hands and an agile physique, he should do a bit better, but he doesn't always remember to get his hands up in the right place and time. When he does, he seems unstoppable, as his rip and swim moves are very good. He can even use a spin move, although it will occasionally push him out of position. The Florida State Alum has all the tools of a speed rusher, but specializes in bull rushing, which makes him somewhat of an odd duck, although there is definitely potential to make him a versatile player.
Dawkins is also occasionally used as an edge rusher, where he's shown a lot of burst. There's not a small chance he'll be moved back to defensive end, where he's always looked comfortable. Playing with space suits his talents well, and if he learns technique, he'll be a very good backup or even a strong starter in the NFL.