STRENGTHS - Dawson has excellent athletic ability, vertical speed and foot quickness and would be a candidate to play slot receiver in the NFL. He is returning punts and that helps his overall value. He has a definite burst of acceleration and is a player that is lethal with the ball in his hands in space. He is the kind of player that can make a defender miss and create a lot of yardage after the catch. Dawson has good balance and looks the part of a playmaker as he has rare speed. .
WEAKNESSES - Dawson is an undersized player and he will always be limited in the NFL because of his small stature. He doesn't appear to be a player that can get any bigger and he has very limited potential to grow. Dawson does not catch the ball well as he allows the ball to get into his body causing him to drop the ball. He appears limited in his route running and is not a player that will fight through the jam to get down the field. Dawson is not a player that can help blocking down the field. Dawson is a speedster only, and there isn't much more to his game. Dawson has an off the field issue that caused him to get suspended from the first game in 2012.
SUMMARY - Dawson is a big-play threat because of his pure speed, but he is limited to the slot position in the NFL. He could help his cause as a punt returner because of his ability to make plays in space. Dawson is not going to get any bigger than he is as a senior and there are doubts that he can develop to play the slot receiver position in the NFL. He shows great explosion in his release and can separate as a route-runner, but he won't fight through a press and can't physically make plays in a traditional sense. He needs a free release and if he gets it, he can consistently get open vs. zone and off man-to-man coverage all over the field. He does not show natural, soft hands and doesn't pluck the ball away from his frame. He drops the ball too much as he allows the ball into his body. He is a liability because he doesn't track and locate the ball well. Dawson shows elusiveness and excellent speed in running with the ball after the catch. Overall, Dawson is not a player that teams should draft very high as a wide receiver because he doesn't catch the ball well and is limited in size. He deserves sixth round consideration because of his ability to contribute as a punt returner while he tries to develop as a slot receiver.