Joe Dahl focused on position specific skills ahead of WSU Pro Day

SPOKANE’s JOE DAHL returns to Washington State this week. The 6-4, 304-pound o-lineman, projected to be the first Cougar taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, talked to CF.C ahead of his WSU Pro Day appearance on Thursday. Having already participated in the combine, Dahl’s focus on Wednesday won’t be on speed, athleticism or agility drills but rather, position-specific drills – his “football abilities.”

“From what I understand, the coaches can ask you to do whatever they want in terms of football drills, (for example) they’ll have me go through drive blocking drills on the angle, a lot of pass blocking drills because they’ll want to see my ability in kick-sliding… playing out of a three-point stance,” said Dahl, who told CF.C he planned on arriving at WSU on Monday.

A partial list of Cougars expected to participate in Wednesday's Pro Day in addition to Dahl includes Destiny VaeaoDom Williams, Jeremiah Allison and Gunnar Eklund.

Dahl has generally been projected in the media to be selected between rounds 3-6 but said he has "absolutely no idea" where he might go. Between the combine and Senior Bowl, Dahl said he’s met with every NFL team in some form or fashion.  What’s the interest level been from the Seattle Seahawks?

“It’s really hard to tell,” said Dahl, who graduated from WSU in December with a degree in Business Marketing. “I think a lot of people get caught up in that but I haven’t really paid too much attention to that. I’ve definitely talked to them a few times and it would definitely be a great spot but I’d be happy with whoever picked me.”

Dahl has been training in Irvine, Calif., since early January after signing with Rep1 Sports, His average day is a full one.

“We’ll do some running in the morning, followed by position work… we have a few hours before our lifting comes up and try to work in some interview prep, then getting on the board (diagramming plays) to do some things we didn’t do in college -- and making sure we’re on top of everything we did in college as well,” said Dahl.

Washington State head man Mike Leach reacted strongly to those who would question a player's NFL readiness coming out of WSU's Air Raid offense. We asked Dahl if he had run into much of that from NFL teams.

“No, not really,” said Dahl. “I think that generally every (NFL) coach expects their own technique, expects their own set of things from each player – whatever program you come out of you’re going to have to adjust.

“I think our program, even though it’s a lot different than the NFL game, it really shows you the athleticism of the player.  You can tell a lot from our scheme even though it’s a lot different. You can tell is someone if a physical player, you can tell if someone can run block, even though we get a lot fewer (run attempts) you can still tell those things.”

Dahl, who simply walked into the Cougar football offices asking for a tryout after transferring from Montana, had nothing but high praise for Leach and WSU o-line coach Clay McGuire.

“(Leach) has been huge. He was the guy who gave me the opportunity… I owe a lot to him and once I was eligible to play he allowed me to start at guard so I pretty much owe everything to him. (McGuire) was a huge influence. He was able to connect with all of us… I think that was a huge strength of ours. He was able to push us on a daily basis and get each one of us better, every day,” said Dahl.

Speaking of guard, Dahl played there early in his WSU career, with the last two seasons-plus at left tackle. Where will he line up in the NFL?

“I think it’s hard to tell, most of them just want to know what I feel most comfortable at and what I see myself as… what I’ve always told them is my versatility is a strength of mine, I can play on the left side and the right side and I think I can play guard and tackle,” said Dahl.

After WSU's Pro Day, NFL teams figure to schedule Dahl for private workouts leading up to the April 28-30 draft.  He’ll head back to Irvine and Rep1 Sports on Friday, where his coaches include Jackie Slater and Pat Harlow and his fellow o-linemen training for the draft include Stanford’s Kyle Murphy and Oregon State’s Isaac Seumalo.

“It’s been a great experience down here in Irvine with the agency I signed with,” said Dahl.

Off the wall questions at the combine are common as NFL teams try to discern character but Dahl said he wasn’t asked anything too bizarre. The one question that caught him off guard? “Somebody asked me how I would make 48 cents out of six coins,” laughed Dahl. “I think I got it right, I told him a quarter, two dimes and three pennies.”

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