2021 NFL draft: Will injuries keep Landon Dickerson out of Round 1?

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Eric Edholm
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Leading up to the 2021 NFL draft, which starts April 29, Yahoo Sports will count down our top 100 overall prospects. We’ll count them down in groups of five for Nos. 100-51, followed by more in-depth reports on our top 50 players, with help from our scouting assistant, Liam Blutman. We reserve the right to make changes to players’ grades and evaluations based on injury updates, pro-day workouts or late-arriving information from NFL teams.

Other prospect rankings: Nos. 100-96 | 95-91 | 90-86 | 85-81 | 80-76 | 75-71 | 70-66 | 65-61 | 60-56 | 55-51 | 50. OT Liam Eichenberg | 49. WR Terrace Marshall Jr. | 48. LB Chazz Surratt | 47. EDGE Joe Tryon | 46. OT-OG Alex Leatherwood | 45. CB Asante Samuel Jr. | 44. DL Levi Onwuzurike | 43. LB Jabril Cox | 42. DT Daviyon Nixon | 41. EDGE Ronnie Perkins | 40. LB Nick Bolton | 39. CB Ifeatu Melifonwu | 38. WR Elijah Moore | 37. OT Jalen Mayfield | 36. EDGE Carlos Basham Jr. | 35. CB Elijah Molden | 34. RB Travis Etienne | 33. WR Kadarius Toney | 32. EDGE Jayson Oweh | 31. LB Zaven Collins | 30. DT Christian Barmore | 29. QB Mac Jones | 28. CB Caleb Farley | 27. RB Javonte Williams | 26. C-OG Landon Dickerson | 25. S Trevon Moehrig | 24. CB Greg Newsome II | 23. WR Rashod Bateman | 22. EDGE Greg Rousseau | 21. OT Christian Darrisaw | 20. RB Najee Harris | 19. LB-S Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah | 18. EDGE Jaelan Phillips | 17. OT Teven Jenkins | 16. EDGE Kwity Paye | 15. CB Jaycee Horn | 14. OT-OG Rashawn Slater | 13. OG-OT Alijah Vera-Tucker | 12. WR DeVonta Smith | 11. EDGE Azeez Ojulari | 10. CB Patrick Surtain II | 9. OT Penei Sewell | 8. QB Zach Wilson | 7. LB Micah Parsons | 6. QB Trey Lance | 5. WR Jaylen Waddle | 4. QB Justin Fields | 3. WR Ja'Marr Chase | 2. TE Kyle Pitts | 1. QB Trevor Lawrence

Here's how we use our prospect grades for the 2021 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)
Here's how we use our prospect grades for the 2021 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

26. Alabama C-OG Landon Dickerson

6-foot-6, 335 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 6.02 — possible immediate starter

TL;DR scouting report: Massive mauler who is an OL coach’s dream if Dickerson’s medical reports aren’t too concerning

Games watched: Missouri (2020), Texas A&M (2020), Tennessee (2020), Georgia (2020)

The skinny: A 4-star Rivals recruit (No. 46 nationally), Dickerson committed to Florida State out of high school and started the first seven games at right guard that season before suffering a torn ACL. In 2017, he started the first four games for FSU at left guard before an ankle injury ended his season. Dickerson then started one game each at left and right tackle in 2018, but a nagging ankle injury cut his season short after those two games, taking a medical redshirt.

Dickerson transferred to Alabama prior to the 2019 season, starting four games at right guard and nine more (including the final eight) at center, earning second-team All-SEC mention. As a redshirt senior, he was named the Rimington Award winner (top center), co-Jacobs Award winner (best SEC blocker, along with teammate Alex Leatherwood), first-team all-SEC and first-team AP All-America (unanimous).

Dickerson started the first 11 games in 2020 prior to suffering a torn ACL in the SEC title game win over Florida. Although he could not play in the playoff semifinals vs. Notre Dame, Dickerson ceremoniously took the final two snaps of Bama’s national title victory over Ohio State. He accepted a Senior Bowl bid but was unable to play because of the injury.

Upside: Grizzly bear size — massive frame at nearly 6-foot-6 and 333 pounds, with decent arm length (33 1/4 inches), huge hands (10 3/8 inches) and a sprawling wingspan (81 1/8 inches). As big a center as you’ll ever find, and pretty huge for a guard too.

Brawny strength to battle with big nose tackles. Nice core and lower-body strength to drive the pile. Good punch to ward off defenders — quality hand fighter. Anchors well vs. bull rushes. Can deliver some slobberknocker blocks to bury people. Mauler in the run game in both zone and man schemes.

Facile pass protector who sniffs out blitzes and stunts and can react to late action up front. Only four career sacks allowed in more than 1,200 career pass-block snaps — and only one allowed since the 2017 season. Makes protection calls and has worked in a variety of schemes. Solid range and flexibility and enough athleticism to reach the second level.

Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson has tremendous upside, but his injuries are concerning. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson has tremendous upside, but his injuries are concerning. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Tone setter whose intangibles are off the charts. Beloved by teammates and coaches alike. Serious, business-like attitude on the field. Smart technician who wins with his mind and his physical skill. Vocal leader who demands the best from his teammates. Mauler who plays with a nasty demeanor — will have 32 OL coaches pounding the table for him.

Very experienced — 37 career starts at two programs. Has played all five positions in college. Has the talent and temperament to start immediately (if healthy) at any of the three interior spots and could serve as an emergency tackle. Plays with urgency and energy — leaves it all on the field.

Downside: Lengthy injury history — missed notable chunks of four different college seasons. Suffered a torn ACL (right knee) in 2016; season-ending ankle (right) injury in 2017; ankle sprain (left) that caused him to miss most of the 2018 season; and a torn ACL (left) suffered late in the 2020 season. Possible PUP list candidate who might not be fully healthy to start the season. Could have a shorter career because of a litany of injuries.

Aggressive mentality can work against him — lunges on blocks and loses balance. Can try to overwhelm his opponent and can lose his technique. Plays a bit high and will bend at the waist. Not as effective when his initial punch is stunted. More in control in 2020 but whistled for 22 penalties in 37 career starts — guilty of playing past the whistle.

Not always able to connect on his second-level targets. Average foot quickness to handle speed rushes. Lateral quickness can tax him. Longer defenders can keep him at bay.

Might be better-suited to play guard in the NFL. Won’t offer much at tackle, even though he has experience there.

Best-suited destination: The team that drafts Dickerson will likely have felt comfortable with the medical evaluation, and it might have to be viewed as something of a luxury pick considering his status for the start of the season isn’t clear. But whenever Dickerson is cleared, he profiles as a tone-setting, mauling guard or center, preferably in a man-heavy scheme, and he’s got the talent, maturity and toughness to be an immediate standout.

Did you know: Dickerson became Florida State’s first true freshman offensive lineman to start an opener since Jamie Dukes did it back in 1982.

Player comp: A bigger Brandon Linder, with shades of Quenton Nelson.

Expected draft range: Late first- or early second-round pick.

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