DeMarcus Van Dyke Brings Experience, Upside

Looking for a steal in the latter rounds of the draft? Miami's DeMarcus Van Dyke has all the ingredients. He earned plenty of playing time at an elite college; he boasts four years of experience on special teams; and he has a palpable upside that could be fleshed out by the right NFL team.

Van Dyke has yet to catch his breath this offseason. He kicked things off by playing in the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando. After a quick trip back home, he scurried over to Mobile, Ala., to partake in the Senior Bowl.

It's not all about auditioning for as many scouts as possible, although that is a big part of it. It is also about shoring up his game in advance of the NFL Draft.

"I feel like I'm more comfortable playing off [coverage] now, because at Miami we played a bunch of press," he said. "I wasn't really comfortable playing off, but now I have some repetitions playing off -- I'm getting some coaching from NFL guys who know how to play off -- so I'm getting more comfortable and getting better each day."

Miami CB DeMarcus Van Dyke
Tom Hauck/Getty
Improvement is key, as Van Dyke is viewed as a raw prospect with the ability to be a playmaker.

He made his fair share of plays at Miami, ending his career with 80 tackles, 10 pass breakups and three interceptions. He shuffled in and out of the starting lineup, starting 21 of 50 games played.

He also shined on special teams, which could get his foot in the door on the next level.

"At Miami I played special teams all four years," he said. "On the punt team I was the gunner. On the punt return team I was the guy who challenged the receiver. And on kickoff I was the safety valve. I want to try returning punts, too."

Van Dyke is doing everything possible to prepare himself for success in the NFL. He will spend the next few months training with Pete Bommarito in Aventura, FL. He is preparing for the drills at the NFL Combine while trying to add weight to his 175-pound frame.

He has a can-do attitude in his quest for NFL employment, a message he hopes to hammer home to decision-makers in the league.

"I can do anything they want me to do," he said. "I'll play special teams, clean lockers, do whatever it takes to be on the team."

Van Dyke is projected to be a sixth- or seventh-round selection.

Michael Lombardo is a member of Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His work has been published by NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports.

Panther Insider Top Stories