Landon Dickerson - C, Alabama
By the numbers:
6'6", 325 pounds.
Unanimous first-team All-American in 2020.
Two missed assignments and zero sacks allowed before an ACL injury cut his season short.
Prior to the 2019 season, Landon Dickerson wasn't primarily a center. He's established himself as a premier talent there but still carries positional versatility with him to the NFL. Dickerson is a very large human being and has the strength to match, making him an anchor at the line of scrimmage and one of the more powerful offensive linemen in this year's draft class. He uses his hands well and rarely gets moved off his block.
Dickerson's demeanor makes him a highly sought-after prospect. He plays with a mean streak, routinely finishing plays. Reps are never over for him, as he always looks for more work past his initial assignment. His motor revs on high until he hears the whistle blow, which is a plus in all facets of the game. Dickerson is a very bright football player with a terrific understanding of how to use his hands and body to create run lanes or prevent pass-rushers from getting to the quarterback.
Thankfully for Dickerson, he has great strength and IQ to fall back on. If he didn't, his limited athleticism would be a lot more obvious. He may occasionally lose a rep against an uber-athletic interior defensive lineman, but it mostly shows up downfield. Dickerson will never be the lineman to run step-for-step with his running back, and he doesn't create as many second-level plays as desired. Luckily, his elite awareness combats that issue fairly well.
The pressing concern with Dickerson is his medical profile. He has a long history of knee and ankle injuries, ending his senior season by suffering ligament damage to his knee against Florida on Alabama's final touchdown of the game. With COVID-19 affecting in-person medical testing and examinations again this year, it may also affect Dickerson's draft stock.
How Dickerson fits with the Chiefs:
With Austin Reiter and Daniel Kilgore both set to hit the free-agent market this offseason, center is a major position of need for the Chiefs. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Lucas Niang are set to return from COVID-19 opt-outs and could possibly occupy other open slots along the offensive line, so perhaps taking a center early in the draft would be a good idea. Dickerson fits the Chiefs' zone-blocking scheme and could also potentially transition back out to guard at the NFL level if necessary.
Had it not been for his injury concerns, Dickerson would almost surely be a top-40 pick in this year's draft. He boasts an impressive resume with quality tape, demonstrating a high football IQ and strength that makes him a great player at the point of attack. His playstyle and versatility are bonuses. With that said, his long injury history simply can't be ignored. He has first-round talent, but grades out as a player the Chiefs may want to wait until late in the second round to scoop up if he's still available.