Dakota Dozier may be named after a soap opera character, but he’s out to make his name resonate with Jets fans. It’s already resonating in the team’s locker room after this weekend’s rookie minicamp.
Dozier’s mother was pregnant and watching a soap opera when she came across a character named Dakota. According the Jets’ fourth-round pick, there is no long-winded explanation for his name. She saw the name on the program and simply “fell in love with it.”
At 6-foot-4 and 313 pounds, Dozier comes into the NFL with an ideal build to play either left tackle — which he played at Furman — or at left guard, where he played well at minicamp.
“I will play wherever they say play,” Dozier said. “I’ve been working during the offseason at tackle, guard or center. I want to do whatever I can to see the field as soon as possible.”
Following the draft, general manager John Idzik said that they liked the fact that Dozier can play either guard or tackle. noting that
“He has some position flexibility which is attractive about Dakota,” Idzik said.
Watching him on film, even against inferior talent, it is easy to see why the Jets would use a mid-round pick with an eye to develop him.
While he needs time to refine himself technically, Dozier is powerfully built. He uses his lower body well to leverage power and push defensive linemen back onto their feet. While he likely won’t be so dominant at the NFL level, he does have an intriguing blend of strength and skills.
He also has decently long arms, important for a guard to withstand a power rush.
“The point of contact is a last faster,” Dozier said of the transition from tackle to guard. “It’s just picking up things scheme wise — working on technique, the speed of play. But I like going up against those big guys, you’re physical from the onset in there.”
After his strong showing at the East-West Shrine Game, Dozier vaulted from an unknown name to one who impressed at his pro day and during workouts.
One tryout defensive lineman at this past weekend’s rookie minicamp, when asked about going up against Dozier, sat on his chair in the locker room and shook his head. Not even looking up, he said, “Should have named him ‘Bull Dozier.’ He’s a bulldozer out there.”
As for his birth name, Dozier never found out which soap opera his mother was watching or looked into his namesake character.
“She never gave me any details. I don’t even care,” Dozier said. “My name is Dakota, I’m good with it.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.