First Tiger off the board?

CLEMSON — The plan for Dorell Scott this weekend is to just take it easy, enjoy the beautiful weather and enjoy being back at home in Columbia.

Scott's plan is to simply do nothing, but odds are he has plenty to do this weekend, which will probably involve a flight to one of the 32 NFL cities to meet his new team. The 6-foot-3, 317-pound defensive tackle is expected to be the first Clemson player off the board, depending who you talk to, when the 2009 NFL Draft gets started today.

Scout.com NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber says Scott could come off the board as early as the middle of the third round Sunday. A lot of that is primarily due to Scott's remarkable 4.97-time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in February and the other part is his versatility in 3-4 schemes.

"He has a shot to be the first Clemson guy taken," Steuber said. "In a draft where there is not a lot of depth with 3-4 defensive ends, I think he can play in a 3-4 at the end position.

"With a lot of teams going towards the 3-4, Dorell becomes very attractive. He can definitely move up a little bit, probably the third-round range and maybe the mid-third to late third-round. I think any team that runs a 3-4 will definitely be interested in Dorell."

And that seems to be the case. After running the second-best 40 by a defensive tackle in the Combine, it did not take him long to start talking to NFL Scouts.

Since then, he has spoken with just about every team that runs the 3-4 or is planning on moving to a 3-4 this upcoming season, including the New York Jets, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Green Bay Packers, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos.

"When you run a 4.9 in the forty that is pretty impressive for a man of his size," Steuber said. "He showed good strength at the combine and I think people are really intrigued by his skills and his ability in the middle and even on the outside.

"I think his versatility is really going to help him out a lot, and will his athleticism. His athleticism has really showed up a lot. If you run a 4.9 at that size, it shows that you can probably play at the end. I think it's his versatility, and a lot of these teams going to the 3-4, that's basically what it is."

After facing some early season adversity that included some nagging injuries of his own, plus trying to over compensate for the loss of Rashaad Jackson on the defensive line, Scott realized his faults by mid-season and turned it up a notch or two down the stretch.

He finished the year 39 tackles, including a career-high 7.5 tackles for a loss. He carried that momentum into his workouts, which included staying at Clemson and working with strength and conditioning director Joey Batson and his staff.

"He had a great combine," Batson said. "He decided he wanted to stay right here and workout with Larry (Greenlee). Obviously, he was familiar with everything here and he did a great job staying in shape and putting himself in good position for the draft."

In fact, Scott's Combine was one of the best one for a Clemson defensive tackle in history as he also had 29 reps in the 225-pound bench press.

"I just want the opportunity to play," Scott said. "I don't care where I play. I just want to be able to line up and play football some more."

More than likely that is going to happen, though scouts are concerned with the use of his hands and his leverage, which causes him to get knocked off the ball at times.

"He has to use his hands a little bit better, but he is an interesting guy," Steuber said. "Durability is another thing with him, but as a player, I think he is a good player. I think he can add a little bit more weight to his frame if he wants to play inside, but if he wants to play on the outside he is probably good where he is.

"I don't know if there are really many negatives about Dorell, from what I hear there seems to be a lot of positives at this point."

Which is why the Cowboys had him workout for them twice and the Steelers had him in for a visit. The Dolphins and Jets also flew him in for workouts, while the Patriots and the Eagles made special trips to Clemson to see him in action.

"I just want to put that helmet on," Scott said.

That's probably going to be happening sooner rather than later, which should make for an interesting and very busy weekend for Dorell Scott.

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