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Brian Orakpo Impressed with Second-Round Pick Kevin Dodd

Posted May 4, 2016

Titans veteran Brian Orakpo impressed with second-round pick Kevin Dodd.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —In his final collegiate game, Kevin Dodd made a splash – the Clemson pass rusher racked up three sacks in the national title game against Alabama, and looked dominant doing so.

Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo was watching.

“Dodd went off in that game,’’ Orakpo said on Tuesday from the Titans Caravan. “I love what he brings to the table. I am very excited to have him on the team. He is going to make everyone better, and we’re going to get him better and he is going to help the pass rush.”

The Titans, of course, selected the 6-foot-5, 277-pound Dodd in the second round (33rd overall) of the NFL Draft. He was the team’s second pick, behind tackle Jack Conklin in the first round.

Orakpo, who recorded seven sacks in his first year with the Titans in 2015, said Dodd should make an impact in the NFL. And he said he plans to help him get comfortable. A year ago, the Titans were decimated with injuries at outside linebacker, losing veteran Derrick Morgan and rookie Deiontrez Mount during the season. It put more pressure -- and emphasis from opposing offensive coordinators -- on Orakpo.

Dodd recorded 12 sacks last season with Clemson.

“He is just a natural pass rusher,’’ Orakpo said of Dodd. “He knows how to get after the quarterback. It is ironic because we had so many injuries last year with our outside backers, it was almost like I was the last man standing in a way (at the end). Now we just continue to added depth to get better.

“We are all going to push each other and I think he is going to be excited about that. This is a team that has a lot of good players, and you push each other and make each other better, and he is going to get a taste of that when he gets here and he’s going to fit right in.”

The Titans ended up making 10 selections in the NFL Draft.

Orakpo, for one, said the group has added even more excitement to the team. In addition to Dodd, Orakpo said he’s familiar with Conklin and Alabama running back Derrick Henry the most.

“A lot of these draft picks and a lot of these acquisitions are going to really help us out this year,’’ Orakpo said. “I was very excited about the first couple of rounds because I knew we had a lot of picks. Dodd is going to make everyone better, and I am excited about a Heisman Trophy winner in Henry coming in, and him and DeMarco (Murray) being a one-two punch.

“Conklin is going to help out the offensive line. A big, nasty, Big Ten guy. I know he’s going to bring a lot of nastiness to the offensive line.”

Jason McCourty, who was also on the Titans Caravan on Tuesday, said the competition should make the team better.

The Titans also spent two draft picks on cornerbacks – LeShaun Sims (Southern Utah) and Kalan Reed (Southern Miss).

“When you gain competition, everybody’s game rises,’’ McCourty said. “You know every time you step on the field you have to show up or the guy next to you is going to take your position, so it’s going to bring the best out of you. We added some rookies and we got some new guys. I am looking forward to everyone meshing together and becoming a stronger unit.”