WRITTEN BY: TOM HANSLIN @tomhanslin
In a week’s worth of Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Alabama, two former Temple stars stood out on a new field. Both of them were playing in different positions, but the adjustment period didn’t take too long.
Haason Reddick moved from his former position of defensive end to linebacker, while Dion Dawkins switched from offensive tackle to guard. The transition was smooth for Reddick, who was named the top performer at linebacker by Senior Bowl executive Phil Savage after three days of practice. Dawkins also received the same award as the top performer on the offensive line.
“I took it is as a challenge,” Reddick told Zach Berman of Philly.com. “I wanted to conquer it, so my thing was to come here and prove I could do it. I came here with a chip on my shoulder. I wanted to show everyone that I’m one of the best players on the field no matter where you put me, and I think I did that this week.”
Reddick, who is 6-foot-1, 234 pounds, doesn’t quite reach the size requirements for an NFL defensive end, thus the change in position and the work on playing 4-3 outside linebacker as well as inside linebacker. The Camden native recorded 43 solo tackles and 10.5 sacks in 2016, and presents his ability to rush the line and quarterback in a stand-up position.
“I talk to a lot of people, some people like me for inside or outside,” Reddick said. “I can see playing inside ‘backer first and second down, maybe let me rush on third down, long situations. I can do both. I’m versatile.”
For Dawkins, who is measured at 6-foot-4, 317 pounds, offensive guard appears to be the place that he’ll thrive most in the NFL. However, this change comes with optimism. This year’s draft class of offensive lineman isn’t considered strong, which could make Dawkins a potential first round pick in late April.
“I actually like it a lot,” Dawkins said of the guard position. “I learn fast and I develop daily. . . . I’m taking it little by little.”
Joe Douglas, the Eagles’ executive vice president of football operations, also took notice of Temple’s performance this past season, and isn’t surprised by the preparation levels of Reddick and Dawkins.
“The one thing you know about Temple guys is they’re well-coached and they’re disciplined and they’re tough and they’re hard-nosed,” Douglas said. “Coach [Matt] Rhule did a phenomenal job getting those guys ready.”
Dawkins believes he and Reddick’s recognition places the program in a brighter light, and he expects more Owls to make the Senior Bowl trip to Mobile next January.
“Both of us came down here with something to prove,” Reddick said. “I think we’ve proved it this week.”
The Senior Bowl game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.