#4 Overall Outside Linebacker by Football Addicts
Born: Sept. 18th, 1998 (21 Years Old)
Weight: 226 Lbs
Troy Dye is from Norco, California and was a consensus 3-star safety. He held offers from Wisconsin, Washington State, Colorado, and a few other Power Five schools but ultimately chose to play football at Oregon. He would be converted to linebacker once he got to Eugene, and would quickly impress the coaching staff.
2016 would be a big year for Dye, as he would become the first freshman linebacker to start for Oregon in 38 years. In his first game he would be named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after recording 11 tackles, 4.5 for a loss, and a sack. He would finish the year with 91 total tackles, 12 for loss, 5.5 sacks and an interception. Dye wasn’t the only big freshman for the Ducks in 2016 though. Justin Herbert would take over the offense for the Ducks, in what was a down year to say the least. Oregon would finish 4-8, and part ways with four year head coach Mark Helfrich.
Dye would once again lead his team in tackles with 107 tackles, becoming the first Oregon player since 1992 to lead the team in tackles back to back years. He also recorded 14 tackles for loss, four sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble. He was only one out of three defensive players that were able to start all 13 games for Oregon. Willie Taggart would step in for Helfrich and lead the Ducks to a 7-6 record, including a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl vs Boise State.
In 2018 Dye would become the second player in Oregon Football history to lead his team in tackles for three consecutive seasons. The three time captain would record 109 tackles, six for loss, one sack and one interception. This was good enough to earn a spot on the Coaches Pac-12 All Second Team. Oregon would have to replace Willie Taggart, who left for Florida State, and brought in Mario Cristobal. In his first season the Ducks would look like a completely different team. They would finish 9-4, and get invited to the Rebox Bowl where they would go on to win, 7-6.
You can probably guess who would lead the Ducks in tackles, even though it would be the lowest in his career. He would be the only player in the Power 5 to have led his team in tackles for the past three previous seasons. With that being said, it isn’t too surprising that he would be voted to the Preseason All Pac-12 First Team. In 2019 Dye would have 84 total tackles, 9.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions. In Week 7 vs Washington, Troy would break his thumb on the first drive. Even though he was able to play through the injury, he had to wear a giant club around his hand during the games, thus leading to his lowest output in tackles in his career. The Ducks season would be great though, and would be in the playoff hunt until Week 11 vs Arizona State. They were upset 31-28, giving them their second loss on the season, and knocking them out of the College Football Playoff race. They would still go on to beat No. 5 Utah in the Pac-12 Championship, and go on to beat No. 8 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
Strengths and Weaknesses
He has had an extremely productive career at Oregon; leading his team in tackles the past three seasons. He has over 40 career tackles for loss, and recorded an interception in every season as well. Really has a nose for the football, and with his long range he can get to the ball very easily. He brings a lot of experience, and is a vocal leader on the field.
Pro Football Focus received an above average coverage grade in all four years at Oregon, and has the size to match up well against athletic tight ends. His coverage skills come from his background actually playing safety in high school. Defenses that run a lot of zone coverage would really like Dye’s skill set.
His weight is definitely going to be a concern, only weighing about 225 Lbs currently, but has a large frame that he can fill out. Once he adds weight not only will it be harder to move him, he can also be more physical when attacking the ball. Until then he will be a fairly easy defender to move out the way, and will probably struggle as an inside backer. If he is lined up on the outside, while he does have the length to stay with tight ends, he isn’t an eye popping athlete by any means.
NFL Draft Projection/NFL Player Comp
NFL Draft Projection
In today’s NFL you need athleticism at the linebacker position, and Dye fits that role. I believe he can play inside or outside backer due to his ability to drop back in coverage, boosting him even more. I currently have Troy as a Top 60 player and will most likely be selected in the middle of Round 2.
Teams like Carolina, Cleveland, and New England would be great fits for Dye in the 2nd round. They all replacements in their linebacker room after losing talent in one shape or another. I personally love Dye to New England, especially if they can’t re-sign Kyle Van Noy. Dye does everything well, has plenty of potential, and has range that the Patriots would love.
NFL Player Comp
Dye does a little bit of everything well, and somethings very well. That seems to be the best way to describe A.J. Hawk as well, who was one of the better linebackers in the NFL for his time. Though the size difference is rather large, Hawk is an amazing tackler, and can hold his own in coverage too.
I think his floor could be someone like Matt Milano from Buffalo. Milano is also a converted safety, and is a little undersized for his position. He is still one of the better coverage linebackers in the NFL, and can create turnovers because of that. Once Dye gets in an NFL weight room, and with their training staff, I think he will be able to be a top linebacker in a few seasons.