Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
6’3 1/4, 231lbs, 9 3/8ths hand size, 78inch wingspan
No combine or pro day workout
Dye was a four year starter for the Ducks, leading the team in tackles every year (only player in Oregon history to do so). Played in 50 career games with 48 starts dating back to his true freshman season. Dye made numerous All Pac-12 teams from various outlets (AP, USA Today, PFF, ESPN, Phil Steele) during his time in Eugene and was invited to the Senior Bowl this past cycle. Dye is the modern NFL linebacker with great length, speed, and coverage ability.
As a lighter and wiry LB prospect, run defense is naturally the first question mark when scouting Dye. Indeed he can improve in this area but leading the Ducks in tackling for 4 years means Dye has a nose for the ball. He has enough examples of making great run reads, sifting through traffic, and fighting though blocks. He isn’t always consistent in this area however but the tools are there and he has the ability to develop into an even better run defender. His ability to extend his arms and pop blockers is impressive and you’ll see offensive linemen’s heads rock back when Dye lands the first punch. Due to his length and height however he won’t always win at the point of attack and needs to do a better job managing his pad level as a pro.
Pass coverage is where Dye really shines. Those long arms and his speed would make him an instant nickel linebacker for many NFL teams. Dye has a proven ability to blanket tight ends with fluid hips and a wide catch radius. He also has tremendous ball skills for the position playing in the 2019 PAC 12 Championship wearing a cast over his broken thumb and hauling in an interception against Utah. Dye can be an intriguing addition for a team looking to add athleticism to their LB corps and has the potential to become a match-up weapon for a defensive coordinators to use against the diverse passing schemes in the NFL.
I couldn’t find many examples of Dye blitzing from the tapes I watched, but what I did see was exciting for his projection. In a limited sample size, Dye showed the ability to time the snap and hit the blitzing lane at full speed. There is also a couple examples of Dye reducing his surface area to corner around offensive linemen. This shouldn’t however be considered a calling card of his game but the few reps I saw showed promise. A team that likes to blitz their linebackers from depth should see Dye’s film and have some added value.
Dye projects to be a coverage linebacker in the NFL, a role that is becoming more and more important. The team that drafts him will likely be ready to insert him into the game as at least a situational player early in his career. He has the football acumen, motor, and toughness to comfortably project him as an eventual full time starter in the NFL. An entire off-season to add bulk to his frame while understanding an NFL playbook would likely be required before Dye could be counted on as a every down player. That being said, his ability to impact the game on passing downs will boost his stock in the upcoming draft.