Former Alabama linebackers Trey DePriest and Xzavier Dickson will return to Tuscaloosa Wednesday for Alabama’s pro day. DePriest was invited to the 2015 NFL scouting combine, but did not participate because of knee surgery. Dickson took part in combine workouts, finishing toward the middle of the pack among all linebackers.
Trey DePriest had a productive senior year at Alabama, despite injuries and a suspension in the Crimson Tide’s season opener. He finished 2014 with 88 tackles (third on the team), 4.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and a safety. DePriest anchored a run defense that allowed 88.6 yards per game and three rushing touchdowns, prior to Alabama’s meeting with Ohio State. He accounted for 237 tackles, 17.5 stops for loss, two sacks, six pass breakups, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception in 53 games.
Strengths: DePriest has a solid frame at 6’0” and 254 pounds. He’s a traditional 3-4 inside linebacker that excels at attacking the line of scrimmage. His vision to the ball is strong, and he sheds blockers consistently in pursuit of running backs.
Weaknesses: DePriest lacks elite speed as a pass rusher (two sacks in his career at Alabama). He tends to arm tackle on occasions, rather than breaking down and wrapping up. His footwork and coverage skills are a working progress. DePriest can be fooled by running backs in the flat.
Projected Round: DePriest stands a day three selection (6th round).
Biggest Competition: Erick Kendricks (UCLA, 1st round), Paul Dawson (TCU, 2nd round), Stephone Anthony (Clemson, 3rd round), and Ramik Wilson (Georgia, 4th-5th round)
Xzavier Dickson emerged as Alabama’s sack specialist last season. He recorded 42 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks and two pass breakups in 2014. Dickson helped Alabama’s defense increase its sacks total by 10, posting 32 sacks in 2014 (22 in 2013). He has 91 tackles, 21 stops for loss, 14 sacks, three pass breakups and a forced fumble in 47 games.
Dickson was clocked at 4.74 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He displayed a 29.5-inch vertical and a broad jump of 8’4” inches. His 19 reps of 225 pounds placed him in the middle tier. Dickson showcased speed in the 20-yard shuttle, netting a time of 4.59 seconds. He finished the 3-cone drill in 7.56 seconds.
Strengths: Dickson looks like a traditional 4-3 defensive end, but has the quickness to be an outside linebacker. He has strong shoulders, long arms and a thick frame. He displays an array of pass rush moves that start with creating leverage outside. His exceptional footwork allows him to maintain balance and change directions. Dickson’s speed is deceptive, when it comes to targeting running backs.
Weaknesses: Dickson’s straight-line speed may position him better as a defensive end rather than a linebacker. He has power as a bull-rusher, but struggles to shed blockers at times. Dickson was constantly moved around at Alabama, limiting his ability to hone in skills in a particular position.
Projected Round: Dickson stands as a day three pick (5th-6th round)
Biggest Competition: Dante Fowler, Jr. (Florida, 1st round), Vic Beasley (Clemson, 1st round), Shaq Thompson (Washington, 1st-2nd round), and Benardrick McKinney (Mississippi State, 2nd round).