The first wrinkle is Palacio said NFL teams have talked to him about lining up on offense.
“Fullback and linebacker,” said Palacio. “I was a little shocked but I was like, ‘Okay, I can do that.' I got a little excited, going back to my high school days when I played offense.”
Few college football teams employ a true fullback these days, requiring NFL squads looking to add one to become more creative. If an NFL team or two like Palacio’s blend of versatility and athleticism in projecting him at fullback, the odds increase a bit that he could hear his name called in the later rounds.
Secondly, Palacio finished his WSU career ranked No. 10 all-time with 16 sacks coming off the edge and NFL teams more and more are looking for those third-down, rush-types. Case in point: last year Oregon State’s Obum Gwacham was a surprise sixth-round draft choice after not being seriously mentioned as a possible selection in the months leading up to the draft.
One more item in Palacio's favor: he was a special teams standout this past season and enthusiastically lobbied WSU special teams coach Eric Mele to play on as many units as he could.
“I’ve been hearing undrafted free agent, late rounds possibly. I’ve been hearing teams are interested,” Palacio told CF.C.
Three teams in particular have been showing Palacio the most love.
“I’ve been talking with Kansas City and the Rams, those two have been really hitting me up,” said Palacio. “And the Arizona Cardinals, too.”
Kansas City has five picks in rounds 5-7, Arizona has four selections and Los Angeles has two.
At his Pro Day workout, Palacio turned in a best in the 40 at 4.72 while getting up 21 reps in the bench press. He also posted a 34-inch vertical a 9-foot-11-inch broad jump.
Palacio is one of seven Cougar NFL hopefuls, a list that includes OL Joe Dahl, WR Dom Williams, DL Destiny Vaeao, LB Jeremiah Allison, LB Ivan McLennan and DL Darryl Paulo.
Dahl is the only sure-fire bet to hear his name called on Friday or Saturday, when rounds 2-7 take place. He has been projected anywhere between the second and sixth rounds, with the third round most often mentioned as a landing spot.
For Cougars who are also Seattle Seahawks fans, it’s worth pointing out Seattle has three picks in the third round and the o-line is the ‘Hawks No. 1 priority according to most pre-draft projections. Seattle took an offensive tackle with their first round pick on Thursday but it will be a surprise if they don’t select at least one more o-lineman -- and in all likelihood, two more before the draft comes to a close.
Rounds two and three of the NFL draft are today, with rounds 4-7 on Saturday.
Rounds 2-3: Friday at 4 p.m. PT on ESPN and NFL Network, ESPN’s coverage shifts to ESPN2 at 5 p.m.
Rounds 4-7: Saturday at 9 a.m. on ESPN and NFL Network.
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