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West Virginia Football: 2016 NFL Draft Profile - Safety KJ Dillon

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One of the forgotten players in the West Virginia defense, let's take a look a safety KJ Dillon and what he brings to the next level in the NFL.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Safety KJ Dillon showed the typical player ascension in his college career, starting out as a reserve safety as a freshman in 2012. He then became a part time starter in 2013 before a severe case of dehydration ended his season. He became a full-time starter in 2014 where he tied for the team lead in interceptions. As a senior, KJ was able to fully show his versatility and ability.

Combine Results

Event Results
Height 6'-0"
Weight 210
40-Yard Dash 4.53 secs
Bench Press 11
Broad Jump 121 inches
Vertical Jump 28 inches
Short Shuttle 4.43 seconds
3-Cone Drill 7.27 seconds

KJ Dillon chose not to participate in many of the other NFL Combine drills such as the 20-yard shuttle or Vertical Jump, choosing to wait until the Pro Day to show scouts what he could do there. He performed the Vertical Jump, Short Shuttle and 3-Cone Drill at WVU's Pro Day in front of NFL head coaches and scouts. KJ was a top performer in the 40-yard dash, showing off his speed. He isn't one of the strongest but does have good NFL size at six feet and 210 pounds. These coincide well with current Kansas City Chief safety Eric Berry. You can see video of KJ's NFL Combine workout including positional drills here.

Highlights

Here are a few highlight of KJ from his time at West Virginia. While Karl Joseph may have been known as the sledgehammer on defense, KJ was more than capable of providing fierce hits, like this one he put on TCU running back BJ Catalon in Morgantown in front of the ESPN Gameday crew.

Strengths

  • Has good NFL size and length
  • Plays the ball in the air and attacks at the high point. KJ really turned up his game during his senior season after Karl Joseph was lost to injury. Dillon finished his senior season with 8 pass breakups and 2 interceptions.
  • Versatile with the ability to play both centerfield safety or down in the box. KJ not only finished with 2 interceptions but he also finished 55 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. KJ's versatility allowed Tony Gibson to play versatile fronts and gave an option to support the run or defend the pass.
  • Showed ability to play man coverage in the slot. KJ's speed allowed him to defend receivers while closing fast on throws and the ability to recover on double moves.

Weaknesses

  • Despite posting a 4.53 40-yard at the combine, KJ is more of a long-strider, taking time to ramp up to full speed. He can be beaten on double moves and sometimes gives up on a play when he thinks he's beaten.
  • Dillon didn't post strong numbers in the bench press and it shows in his game play. KJ is more of a catch-and-drag tackler instead of the Karl Joseph heat-seeking missile. He doesn't often run through his tackles and can be dragged by stronger running backs and tight ends.

Potential Fits

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are searching for several back-end starters, including a starting corner, nickel corner and free safety.Dillon's versatility could easily help the Dolphins in their search for a nickel corner or free safety. With 8 selections in the draft including two Round 7 picks, KJ could be on the Dolphins radar.

New England Patriots

KJ is a versatile defensive back capable of playing man or zone coverage both as a free- or strong-safety or even a nickel corner. Defensive mastermind Bill Belichik has proven capable of taking versatile players and making them useful NFL players. The Patriots own 7 selections in the last two rounds including five selections in the 6th round alone.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals were one of the tougher teams in 2015 but were blown out in the NFC Conference Championship Game in part because of injuries to their secondary. Tyrann Mathieu was lost to his second ACL injury in three years, the Cardinals secondary was prone to giving up big plays and broken plays. Dillon's versatilty and playmaking ability could be useful to a team on the verge of a Super Bowl berth.

Outlook & Projections

Dillon has the athleticism and ball skills to help in man coverage and enough awareness from the high safety spot to handle his duties. Dillon has allowed entirely too many missed or broken tackles over the last couple of seasons, but that can be improved with more muscle on his frame and a more technique-­driven approach. Intriguing prospect with developmental traits. - NFL.com Draft Profile

KJ's versatilty can work both for an against him. The old saying "Jack of all trades, Master of none" often gets players who have the ability to play multiple positions in trouble since they do not spend time mastering their craft as seasons go on. KJ can wear many hats but could cause teams to decide he is too green on any specific front because he hasn't spent time playing solely as a cornerback or solely as a free safety. A smart NFL coach will see KJ's ability to move around the field and play special teams and give him a chance to improve.

Projection: 6th-7th Round