NFL Pro Day at WSU: Joe Dahl at center stage

PULLMAN -- Eight outgoing Cougar footballers made their cases to scouts from more than a dozen NFL teams, including the Seattle Seahawks, on Thursday at the annual NFL Pro Day in Pullman. Receiver Dom Williams was the talk of the day, while offensive lineman Joe Dahl was the focus of one position-specific drill after another.

In unofficial numbers out of WSU's Indoor Practice Facility bubble, he clocked 40 times at a blazing 4.33 and 4.43 seconds, and vertical of 40.5 inches. If accurate, the self-professed "long stider" may have vaulted himself from undrafted free agent to big board presence when the NFL draft rolls around in late April.

“I heard I did really well," said Williams, who leaves WSU with 192 career receptions for 2,889 yards and 30 TDs.

"Once I saw all my trainers jumping, I knew I had a good time. It felt really good, I mean, I came out here very relaxed.”


Another player who turned in a solid day of work was linebacker Jeremiah Allison. Because of the alphabetic order, he went first in every drill of the day.

“I’ve been going first my entire life, unless I get someone named Abraham in my class,” Allison joked. “Ultimately, it’s good to be first, and I’m a leader, so I’m used to it.”

Hours after the workout, at the annual team banquet, Allison and offensive lineman Gunnar Eklund received the Captain's Award for exceptional leadership. Eklund, suprisingly, didn't attend Pro Day.

Representatives from at least 14 NFL teams (full list below) and one CFL team (Edmonton) were present.

Offensive lineman Joe Dahl, who is widely viewed as a top-four-rounds draft pick, was on hand for ghost blocking and other position-specific drills but didn't partake in the events he performed last month at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Full participants were Williams, Allison, receiver Daniel Lilienthal, linebacker Ivan McLennan, end Kache Palacio and defensive linemen Darryl Paulo and Destiny Vaeao.

Asked afterward what he's hearing about his draft status, the 6-4, 304-pound Dahl (pictured above) said he doesn't pay attention to the speculation and thinks he might not even watch the draft in order to ward off stress. The one-time walk on from Spokane has been training this winter in Irvine. Calif.

Being the only o-lineman present, scouts -- led by the New York Jets' -- ran Dahl through almost every position drill imaginable, ranging from footwork and strength to snapping the ball as a center and pulling like a guard. He clearly had the most exhausting workout of anyone. (You can see his full interview in the video below)

Vaeao has been training in Orlando, Fla., and focusing on improving his speed. The 6-4, 300 pounder felt he acquitted himself well, especially in position drills where he "showed some scouts a big boy can move." (You can see his full interview in the video below)

Hours after the workout, Dahl and Vaeao were honored at the annual team banquet, where Dahl was named the Mike Utley Offensive Lineman of the Year and Vaeao the Leon Bender Defensive Lineman of the Year.


  • A number of Cougars were on the sidelines cheering their eight teammates going through the drills. That group included outgoing senior Taylor Taliulu, juniors Edudardo Middleton and Gabe Marks, sophomores Robert Lewis, Marcellus Pippins and Darius Lemora, and freshman Brett Schafer.

  • Several WSU coaches were on hand including Jim Mastro, Clay McGuire, Eric Mele, Joe Salave’a, Ken Wilson, Roy Manning, Alex Grinch and strength and conditioning coach Jason Loscalzo.

  • Besides the Seahawks and Jets, NFL team confirmed to be in attendance were the Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers.

  • Palacio also did some work as a running back coming out of the backfield and running some wheel routes and catching passes.



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