With the recent departure of star EDGE rusher Dante Fowler, the Los Angeles Rams are on the hunt for his replacement. Losing their best tackler, Cory Littleton, they are also looking for more depth at linebacker in general.
University of Oregon EDGE Troy Dye would be a great prospect. At first glance, his size is fascinating. He is tall and lanky with hybrid positional potential. At 6’4,” 226 pounds, Dye is lighter than what the ideal EDGE should be, but his talent would be a strong addition to the Rams defense. He led Oregon in tackles in 2019 after all.
College Stats and Honors:
2019: 84 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, four passes defended and two forced fumbles
Career: 391 tackles, 41.5 for a loss, 13 sacks, five interceptions, 14 passes defended, one fumble recovery, four forced fumbles and one touchdown
Honors: AP Pac-12 All-Conference First Team (2019), PFF All Pac-12 First Team (2019), PFF Championship Week Nation Team (2019), PFF Pac-12 Team of the Week (Week 6) (2019), PFF Pac-12 Team (Week 5) (2018), PFF All-Pac-12 first team (2017), Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week (Week 12, 2017), Four-time PFF Pac-12 Team (Weeks 1, 5, 6 and 12, 2017)
Dye has an extraordinary ability to find the ball and make plays. He is quick off the snap and can draw blockers away while simultaneously getting around offensive tackles to rush the quarterback. He can also stop the run. His hybrid talent serves him well when dropping back to cover receivers. Dye focuses well on the quarterback to anticipate his next action. He can get in front of receivers and create turnovers. He also creates fumbles single-handedly. Dye can play at multiple defensive roles. He has played inside and outside linebacker, succeeding at both positions. Dye is just plain tough, playing with multiple injuries during his final season with the Ducks and still able to perform at a high level.
Dye is undersized for an EDGE rusher. He is strong, but he will need to put on a more weight to compete in an NFL defense. He is also recovering from a torn meniscus and a broken thumb suffered in 2019, so the Rams will need to evaluate some risk there. Dye is all over the field and may be more like a Cory Littleton-type defender than a Dante Fowler-type. He can be compared to Taylor Rapp as well. This may be a problem to figure where to place him in the Rams defense, albeit not a bad problem to have. Dye would also potentially come into the Rams’ 3-4 defensive scheme when he may be more suited for a 4-3 outside linebacker.
Expected Draft Round:
The Rams were rumored to have their eye on Dye since before the 2019 preseason. Dye will most likely be picked up by a team in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He should be within the top 50 picks, especially being one of the best linebacker prospects. The Rams would be smart to consider him as a solid backup to the current linebacker lineup, but they may also consider him as a hybrid backup as safety. His amazing skillset to tackle, break up passes and get to the ball in general would be a welcomed addition to any franchise in 2020.