It says a whole lot about the state of the Seahawks’ linebacking corps that Paul Dawson drew a rather large media throng at his locker Wednesday afternoon.
Nearly a month after Seattle signed Dawson to its practice squad, the team promoted him to the active roster ahead of Seahawks’ NFC West showdown against the Los Angeles Rams at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
There is no guarantee Dawson will even be active for the game, but if Pro Bowl linebackers Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and K.J. Wright (concusssion) are not ready to go, suddenly the former Big 12 Conference defensive player of the year out of TCU becomes the team’s No. 4 linebacker beind Michael Wilhoite, Terence Garvin and D.J. Alexander.
“This is a great opportunity for me, man,” Dawson said. “I am blessed to be in this situation again. I’ll do as much as I can for the team.”
Dawson was considered one of the best draft-day steals out of the 2015 NFL Draft when the Cincinnati Bengals took him with the last pick of the third round.
Draft pundits praised Dawson’s instinct and smarts at inside linebacker, which is something former teammate and current Seahawks quarteraback Trevone Boykin backed up Wednesday.
“He is like Bobby (Wagner) ... with just his knack being around the ball,” Boykin said. “He finds ways to get to the ball very easily, and makes it look effortless.”
So why did Dawson’s tenure with the Bengals flame out so quickly?
He played 11 games as a rookie, and flashed enough potential that the team thought it had the next Vontaze Burfict on its hands.
But during the 2016 training camp, coaches reportedly became so frustrated with Dawson’s attitude, he fell down the depth chart, and was eventually cut before the start of the regular season.
The Bengals cut him again last summer after a broken right hand kept him sidelined most of August.
“It is what it is. Everything works out for the best,” Dawson said. “I am here now, and I am ready to go.”
Dawson was wise enough to saddle up next to Wagner for much of his month with the Seahawks, absorbing any advice the All-Pro middle linebacker was willing to give.
“I told him, ‘Come in, put your head down and work hard,’” said Boykin, whom Dawson called to get familiar about the Seahawks before a Nov. 14 workout — just days after he tried out with the New York Giants.
“He is just stating over.”
Seattle is in dire need of depth at linebacker, and for now, Dawson is hoping fill that, especially on special teams.
“We’ve been training him,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s a very instinctive player. He’s played a lot of football.”