Draft Slant -- Troy Dye, ILB:
Just a junior, it’s still unknown if Dye will leave early for the NFL draft or if he’ll stay for his senior season. A starter since he stepped onto campus, Dye led the Ducks in tackles in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, while leading them this year as well.
One of the most athletic draft-eligible linebackers available, there’s no questioning Dye’s production or abilities. Listed at 6-foot-4, 224-pounds (more like 230), Dye has proven that he’s strong at rushing the passer, running sideline-to-sideline or keeping up with tight ends over the middle. His versatility it what really sets him apart from other inside linebackers who will be in the 2019 or 2020 NFL draft.
In just under three full years, Dye has amassed 287 tackles, 31 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks — showcasing his ability to succeed in the trenches and use his athleticism to make plays. His lateral quickness allows him to stay on top of blockers and not get pinned down, while his quick first-step gives him great burst to shoot through holes and make tackles in the backfield.
Another part of Dye’s game, arguably the most important part with today’s pass-happy NFL, is his productivity in pass defense. For his career, Dye has three interceptions and nine pass break-ups. His height makes it difficult for quarterbacks to throw over him across the middle while his speed on the sidelines allows him to cover the flats. He’s also quick and agile enough to run with tight ends or running backs out of the backfield, a huge positive.
According to Benjamin Solak of the Draft Network, Dye does have some glaring issues. Dye is slow to read and react to blocking schemes while struggling to disengage with blockers when tangled up. He also has a tendency to “keep his jersey clean,” meaning not often sticking his head into a pile to lead the way, but rather picking up the scraps on the outside.
Still, The Sports Xchange lists Dye as its No. 5 inside linebacker prospect while NFL.com rated Dye as the No. 5 inside linebacker prospect to watch. WalterCampbell.com lists Dye as the No. 11 inside linebacker of the 2020 draft, expected to go in the 4-6 round range.
Finally, Sports Illustrated rated Dye as the No. 38 player in college football saying:
“Dye, the third and final Duck defender to make this year’s Top 100, was Oregon’s leading tackler in 2016 and ’17 and brings a 20-game start streak into his junior season. The 6'4", 221-pounder showed off the open-field speed that makes him such a terror in pursuit on a 93-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the Las Vegas Bowl, and if the Ducks make noise in the Pac-12 North, he should be in line for serious conference defensive player of the year consideration.”
Without a doubt, Dye will have a big decision to make this upcoming offseason. He can either make his dream a reality and enter the NFL Draft, where his draft combine numbers will only elevate him up draft boards. Or, he can stay for his senior season as a Duck, try to right the wrongs from this year and enjoy one more go with younger brother Travis, a freshman running back with Oregon.