Linebacker Playing The Waiting Game

Karlos Dansby talks about the upcoming NFL Draft and what he's thinking heading into the important weekend.

Auburn, Ala.--Making the move from wide receiver to linebacker isn't an easy one for most football players, but Auburn's Karlos Dansby made it work and now he's poised to be a high pick in this weekend's NFL Draft in New York.

A 250-pound missile on the outside with the ability to take on receivers in space and blockers in close quarters, Dansby says that moving to defense was something that changed his career for the better.

"I've been blessed a lot," Dansby says. "I came in as a wide receiver and things didn't go my way. I ended up changing to outside linebacker and that's been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I'm blessed and just thankful right now."

Rated by most experts as the number two outside linebacker prospect in the 2004 draft behind Miami's D.J. Williams, Dansby has been impressive on the field at Auburn, but his physical numbers are not staggering off the field. He's not the biggest, nor is he the fastest, but all he does make plays. While he says it's frustrating to hear some of the things the NFL scouts and analysts are saying about him, he says all he has to do is look at another former Tiger to see how much it means to make plays when the lights are on.

"I've been surprised at how people rate you," Dansby says. "As far as commentators and sports analysts they can rate you and either lift you up or tear you up. That's been kind of surprising. It makes me think, ‘Do the NFL coaches really believe these guys?' Do they know what they are talking about?

"Most of the time the feeling that you get is that they think it's mostly about numbers," Dansby adds. "They really don't watch film too tough, I don't think. I don't know how the process goes. Sometimes they think I take plays off. That's something I've been hearing lately and that surprised me a lot.

"I've never thought that, but that's just the way coaches look at the film and that's how they grade film. I think it's because of the way I play, my style of play. Take Marquis Daniels. People think he plays slow and it looks like he takes plays off, but he makes it look so easy. That's why they call him ‘Easy Quesie,' I guess."

Dansby along with Spencer Johnson will be waiting anxiously this weekend for a phone call. Dansby will be with relatives and friends in Birmingham on draft day.

With over 220 tackles and eight interceptions in his three seasons on defense for Auburn, Dansby played both safety and linebacker and made plays at both positions. Scouts tell Dansby his ability to play in space (defend passing game) is something that keeps him at the top of the lists at the outside position. Still he says he's unsure of exactly when his name is going to be called and that's the hardest part, the waiting.

"I've heard from the ninth pick on down to 32, I guess," Dansby says. "Even the second round. I'm just going to stay patient and stay humble about the situation and just wait for my name to be called. There are a lot of teams out there that have a need for my position. I really don't know where I'll end up right now. There are a couple of teams that need linebackers. I think the N.Y. Jets, Jacksonville, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints right now need linebackers."

One thing that many scouts said hurt Dansby was his lack of participation in the Senior Bowl held in Mobile. The premier post-season All-Star game for NFL hopefuls, the Senior Bowl attracts a large number of scouts and coaches looking to get a peek at practice in hopes to seeing something they may have missed on film. Dansby says that he regrets not being able to be in Mobile for the week to show what he can do.

"I was sick at the time," Dansby says. "I really wanted to play because it was my last game in the state of Alabama. It would have been a big thing for me, but the circumstances wouldn't let me have an opportunity to play in the game."

Dansby will be joined in the waiting this weekend by linebacker Dontarrious Thomas, defensive end Reggie Torbor, defensive tackles Demarco McNeil and Spencer Johnson, fullback Brandon Johnson, wide receiver Jeris McIntyre and offensive linemen Mark Pera and Monreko Crittenden. Thomas is expected to go in the second or third round of the draft while there is a chance Torbor could move into that position as well as McNeil. Both McIntyre and Pera should be drafted on the second day with a fourth, fifth or sixth-round selection likely for each. Everyone else is likely a free agent signee, but there is a chance that both Spencer and Brandon Johnson could get a late call.

"I'm not surprised," Dansby says of Torbor's rising stock in the draft. "He's very talented and he can do a lot of things out there on the field. A lot of guys didn't know about him, but now they now and they're looking at him pretty hard right now. When he gets his opportunity I know he's going to make the best of it."

No matter where Dansby winds up there is little doubt that he will become an impact player before long in the NFL because of his instincts on the football field. Before that happens Dansby says that he's going to take in every bit of advice he can get and it's already started with several former Tigers calling to wish the linebacker the best of luck on Saturday.

"Every now and then I get a call," Dansby says. "Rudi Johnson will call and stay in touch with me. Takeo Spikes does also. They've been calling me the last couple of days just trying to see what's going on. Travaris Robinson has called also. They call back and holler at me.

"Speed is going to be a big thing in the NFL," Dansby says of Spikes' advice. "He said it's totally different from college, the speed of the game. You just have to know what you're doing and your responsibilities. He tells me just to stay in it and work hard."

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