Troy Dye has been losing sleep.
But not over the NFL draft.
Oregon’s highly productive linebacker — the only player in program history to lead the team in tackles four consecutive seasons — was finally selected on the third day of the NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings with the 132nd overall pick in the fourth round.
Getting a new job continues a life-changing month for Dye, who became a father on April 7 when his girlfriend, Oregon track standout Makenzie Dunmore, delivered their son.
“This whole month has been a whole new adventure, and I’m looking forward to it because that’s what life’s about — it’s an adventure, a new journey,” Dye said during a Zoom call with the media shortly after being drafted on Saturday. “I’m just looking forward to the new things that I have coming forward to me in life.”
Blessed to be apart of a great organization!! Ready to work!! Skol https://t.co/0VI7xkqmcV— Troy Dye (@Tdye15dbTroy) April 25, 2020
Dye, who played for three defensive coordinators at Oregon, finished third on the school’s career tackles list with 397 and is tied for fourth in tackles for loss with 44.
The all-Pac-12 first team selection played through a broken thumb and a partially torn meniscus down the stretch of his senior season to help the Ducks win the Pac-12 championship and the Rose Bowl.
Dye said he didn’t think either medical issue was serious initially. But the thumb injury turned out to be more severe than he anticipated and an MRI after the season revealed the “tweak” in his knee was actually a tear.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who didn’t let eye surgery slow him down on the sideline last season, will no doubt appreciate Dye’s toughness as Ducks fans do.
“At the end of the day, I came back for my senior year to play for a Pac-12 championship, play for a Rose Bowl,” Dye said. “I wasn’t going to let anything that was not life threatening or a career-ending injury stop me from playing the game. …
“If I can walk, I can play and I’m going to do it. I’m not going to sit on the bench and just milk stuff. I love to play the game. I love football so much that I’ll give everything I have for it.”
Playing through the pain, the versatile Dye had 84 tackles, including 9.5 for loss with 2.5 sacks, four pass breakups, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 2019.
“There’s really nothing he can’t do on the football field,” ESPN draft analyst Louis Riddick said. “Troy Dye is a fantastic prospect.”
The Vikings already have a strong group of linebackers, including Eric Wilson and former UCLA stars Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks.
Dye is ready to work for a spot on the roster and develop behind the established starters.
“I look froward to going out there and bringing a lot of energy, a lot of juice to the special teams side of the game and be a key contributing part to the team,” Dye said. “I think that’s where I’ll make a big impact this first year.”
This is the second consecutive year the Vikings have drafted a member of Oregon’s 2016 recruiting class after selecting wide receiver Dillon Mitchell in the seventh round of the 2019 draft.
“It’s pretty awesome to be back with my original roommate,” said Dye, who spoke with Mitchell before the draft about the possibility of being on the same team again. “Hopefully we can live together again.”
Mitchell, who perhaps isn’t ready to change diapers yet, suggested on social media that “we can definitely be neighbors.”
Shane Lemieux was the first member of Oregon’s offensive line, which helped Justin Herbert develop into a first-round pick, to be taken off the board with the 150th overall selection in the fifth round.
Lemieux started 52 consecutive games at left guard for the Ducks. The 6-foot-4, 313-pound second-team All-American played 3,611 snaps during his collegiate career.
Thankful for the opportunity to work!” Lemieux tweeted. “Couldn’t be happier to be apart of such a great organization. Go Big Blue.”
"SO excited to be a New York Giant!" -@ShaneLemieux#GiantsPride | @Bose pic.twitter.com/bBEVreIVWd— New York Giants (@Giants) April 25, 2020
Jake Hanson, who started 49 games at center for the Ducks, will get an opportunity to snap the ball to legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers and first-round pick Jordan Love after being picked in the sixth round (208th overall) by Green Bay.
“I did not have a lot of contact with the Packers so when I got that call with a Wisconsin area code it was a shock,” Hanson said. “It’s such a special moment,” Hanson said. “We all came back because there was so much unfinished business at Oregon for all of us. We wanted to win a conference championship and we wanted to win that Rose Bowl. …
“To see all my teammates drafted the last couple days, I couldn’t be happier for those guys.”
Welcome to Green Bay, @J_Hanson55!
: https://t.co/4F8VDnDbCi#PackersDraft | #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/0QmsBUDFXA
Oregon offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton, wide receiver Juwan Johnson and tight end Jacob Breeland — who all attended the NFL Scouting Combine in February — were not drafted.
There was a run on Oregon State players in the sixth round with quarterback Jake Luton (Jacksonville), offensive tackle Blake Brandel (Minnesota) and wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins (Buffalo) coming off the board.
Luton was taken by 183 picks after his Civil War counterpart, Herbert, went sixth overall by the Los Angeles Chargers on Friday night. He passed for 5,227 yards with 42 touchdowns in 23 games for the Beavers after transferring from Idaho.
Washington State’s Gardner Minshew, a sixth-round pick in 2019, is expected to be the Jaguars’ starter.
Brandel, an excellent blocker in pass protection who made 48 consecutive starters for the Beavers, with the 203rd overall pick.
Hodgins, a Biltenikoff Award semifinalist and all-Pac-12 first team selection who decided to leave after his junior season, was the 207th overall pick after producing 2,322 yards and 20 touchdowns for Oregon State.
Contact reporter Ryan Thorburn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-338-2330, and follow him on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn and Instagram @rg_ducksports. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.