USATodaySports/Rebilas

Where Washington State's Joe Dahl fits in NFL and how high he'll be drafted is a moving target

THE MESSAGES are mixed when it comes to the NFL and Washington State's Joe Dahl. Where he stacks up among guard prospects is one thing, but another question among the punditry is whether he actually belongs at guard.

Matt Miller, the senior draft analyst at Bleacher Report, this week pegged Dahl as the No. 3 guard in the NFL draft later this month but Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus says guard -- the position most pundits project Dahl playing -- is "not a good fit" and that Dahl should stay at tackle or move to center.

Dahl was a three-year starter for the Cougars -- two at left tackle and one at left guard.

Miller ranks Dahl only behind Josh Garnett of Stanford and Christian Westerman of Arizona State as the top available guards in the draft and says the Spokane native could be a right tackle in the NFL but that he has "high-level starting potential" at guard.

Miller forecasts Dahl going in the third round and cites sudden-movement skills and short-area burst among the reasons Dahl fits at guard. Besides, he says, Dahl lacks ideal size and length (33 1/8-inch arms) for tackle and lacks quickness as a kick slider.

Palazzolo, however, makes no bones about it: "a move to guard will not play to his strengths." Those strengths, he says, are excellent movement skills that rarely see Dahl beaten to the outside and the ability to get into position quickly on runs and backside cut-off zone plays.

He also notes that Dahl -- who is in the midst of a series of private workouts with a host of NFL teams -- posted the top pass-protection grade in the nation each of the last two seasons. Here is Palazzolo's complete run down on the 6-4, 304-pound Dahl.

Another follower of the draft -- WalterFootball.com -- seems to be taking a stance on right down the middle on where Dahl fits in the NFL. In their April 9 prospect update, they liken him to Green Bay's David Bakhtiari -- a tackle -- but forecast him as the No. 7 guard in the draft.

Regardless, we won't have long to see where the NFL itself envisions Dahl. The draft runs April 28-30.

NOTABLE: Cougar defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao recently had private workouts with the Chiefs and Falcons, according to ChiefsDigest.com.


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