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Dakota Dozier: Backup LG?

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Can the new signee stick as a backup for the purple?

NFL: New York Jets at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings recently signed G Dakota Dozier, formerly a backup OL with the Jets and a 4th round draft pick of theirs back in 2014. Current Vikings offensive line coach Rick Dennison served in that capacity last year for the Jets, and presumably that connection had something to do with Dozier’s signing with the Vikings.

Dozier has been a career backup, filling in for injured players at most RG and LG for the Jets over the past three seasons. He’s had the equivalent of about a half-season of starting experience altogether over that span.

His PFF grades have been declining each of the last three years with the Jets, but it’s hard to put too much stock in his grades because he only played a few games a year. The Jets, being the Jets, had a new offensive scheme and coordinator every season, so I’m sure that didn’t help Dozier’s development.

Anyway, I put together a game film of Dozier playing left guard last year against the Titans week 13 - his only start last season.

It’s nothing terribly remarkable, but there are a few things that stand out, more negative than positive:

  • He seemed tentative at times, especially early in the game (his first gig last season)
  • He’s definitely a liability blocking in space and the second level - many whiffs
  • Not particularly athletic, and can get beat by more athletic defensive linemen
  • Technique overall not particularly striking
  • Has a proclivity to hold on occasion late in the play - nothing too flagrant however.
  • Not real good as a pulling guard

On the positive side:

  • He did reasonably well in pass protection - only one hurry credited to him. But didn’t have a lot of one-on-ones in pass protection either.
  • He does better in close quarters against the DL, where he can leverage his strength
  • He may be better as a strictly zone blocker.

Overall he looks more like a backup than a starter at left guard, but perhaps in a Kubiak zone scheme he may do better as a run blocker, and can hold his own against less athletic defensive linemen in pass protection, although he may struggle against quicker, more agile ones.

Presumably Rick Dennison saw some things he liked in Dozier, and perhaps thought he’d do better in Kubiak’s scheme, so the Vikings signed him on a low-level deal.

We’ll see how it pans out, but I wouldn’t expect Dozier to be a starter come September.