Chargers Draft Interview: Dave Ball

Dave Ball is a football player who likes to take action. He'll go one on one with a three hundred pound lineman, he'll force the quarterback to lose the football, and he'll take down a running back behind the line of scrimmage, all of which he did innumerable times at UCLA.

But during the draft, all Ball could do is sit around and wait. There was no action he could take except make sure his phone line stayed open.

Ball expected to be drafted on the first day of the draft, but instead he was not drafted until Sunday, when the Chargers took him in the fifth round with the 133rd overall pick.

So why did the man who led the nation in sacks and was the ABC-Chevrolet National Defensive Player of the Year drop all the way to the fifth round?

"Just because I had back problems…I think that kind of scares teams away," Ball said.

Granted, his health is a concern, as Ball may need minor surgery on his back. Yet Ball was one of those players who was not destined to be drafted based on his college performance.

While the six-foot-five 274 pound defensive end has ideal NFL size, his quickness may be an issue, even though he was known for his speed in college. His 40 time was clocked at 4.99, higher than most ends drafted before him. But his back may very well have slowed his time down.

The combines and the workouts are in the past and Ball must now focus on looking toward starting a new career with the Chargers and proving everyone that passed on him in the first four rounds that he is a steal as a fifth rounder.

But the former Bruin knows only one way to prove his worth, and that's by going on the field and performing.

"I don't go out there with a set agenda," Ball said. "I go out there and play hard and always try to do my best. It's not like a revenge type deal, though."

Another reason Dave Ball may have slipped to the second day may just be due to the fact that he played for a disappointing UCLA squad. While six Miami Hurricanes were drafted in the first round, the first Bruin wasn't drafted until the third round, when the Philadelphia Eagles took Matt Ware with the 89th pick overall.

Ball does not expect anything that happened in the past to keep him from being a successful pro, however. Even though he has never played the 3-4 scheme in his life and admits it's "going to be a lot more difficult going inside a little more," he expects to be able to adjust and make a "smooth transition."

Assuming he can make the transition, the Chargers can expect a lot from Ball down the road, as he plays a relentless brand of football and never quits in the pursuit.

"In the NFL you have to be super aggressive, just passionate about the game and just stepping onto the field and being able to step on the field, just being able to play there," Ball said. "So I definitely need to carry over that passion."

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