Fifth Round: 157th Pick
Dial was a top high school recruit from Pinson, Ala., in 2008, but needed two years of seasoning at the JUCO level. Two very good seasons at East Mississippi CC led Dial back to the Crimson Tide and coach Nick Saban, after he had initially committed to them out of high school.
He never became a starter for the Tide in two seasons, but he was an integral part of their defensive line rotation on back-to-back national title teams. Dial will look to have the same role on an NFL team by being a late-round or priority UDFA this week.
Dial intrigued college coaches because of his size. He is a powerful player off the edge or in the middle of a defense depending on scheme. Due to his size and strength, Dial can push offensive linemen around with relative ease and make plays in the backfield.
Versatility will be key for Dial to make it in the next level. He has the look of an NFL player, but his ability to play as a 3-4 DE or 4-3 DT could make him a valuable commodity at the back of the draft.
As with another SEC defensive linemen—LSU’s Lavar Edwards—Dial does not have consistent starting experience at the Division I level. He played behind a ton of high school All-American’s on the line, but breaking into the starting lineup looks good on the resumé.
Dial is disruptive when he can outmuscle his opponent, but he struggles to get off blocks consistently. He will also get turned around quite a bit if he does happen to get into the backfield. Dial tends to overplay the run fake and gets caught out of position without the speed to recover.
Dial had to answer questions in December after getting in a cheap shot on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray in the SEC championship game. After Murray threw a long pick, he was casually walking toward the play when Dial came from out of the frame to “block” Murray. Dial claims that he did nothing wrong on the play, but many fans were calling for his suspension in the BCS Championship with Notre Dame.
Dial stands at a hair under 6’6” and weighed in at 312 pounds during the Crimson Tide’s pro day (per The Sports Xchange) a month ago, which makes him a desirable size on the line in the NFL. He also shows good initial burst, but did not compete in any drills to confirm that due to injury.
Dial rotated between end and tackle during his time with Alabama, but played mostly at end. Saban runs a NFL-like attack defense, which will help Dial in the transition between college and the pros. The hybrid looks they gave will help Dial’s versatility at the next level as well.
The Alabama senior will not be an effective pass-rusher in the NFL. His production in college in terms of pass rush was not very high because he was used more as a run defender. He totaled just 2.5 sacks in two seasons in Tuscaloosa according to Sports-Reference.com.
Against the Run
Pass rush may not be Dial’s strength, but defending the run certainly is. He is a handful to get around because of his size and long arms, which measure at 34 inches.
Dial is also a very sound tackler. If he gets his arms around a running back, then the back is likely coming down. There's not much wiggle room for a running back to escape the grasp of the powerful Dial.
Despite getting stood up at the line at times, Dial does not have any passes defensed to his credit in two seasons. Dial was not a major part of obvious passing downs, which contributes to the lack of stats, but he also does not put up his hands at the line enough. A player of his size should be able to knock balls down at the line.
Dial might get drafted because of his size alone, but he will likely never be anything other than a rotation player. Teams searching for a scheme-versatile defensive lineman late in the draft should look no further than Dial.