Washington State left tackle Joe Dahl missed four games last season with a foot injury, but it doesn’t look as it the injury has had much bearing on his NFL draft stock, which has been on a steady incline since the preseason.

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Washington State left tackle Joe Dahl missed four games last season with a foot injury, but it doesn’t look as it the injury has had much bearing on his NFL draft stock, which has been on a steady incline since the preseason.

Dahl is in Mobile, Ala. this week to take part in the Reese’s Senior Bowl, the most prestigious of all the senior all-star games that provide NFL draft prospects an opportunity to show scouts and front office personnel how they measure up against the best of their peers.

Senior Bowl practices begin on Tuesday and the week culminates with a game on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Dahl is the only WSU player to garner an invitation to this year’s game, and the 6-foot-5, 310-pounder is on the North team that’s coached by the Dallas Cowboys’ staff.

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Dahl will block for former Pac-12 foes Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan and USC quarterback Cody Kessler. The other quarterbacks on the North roster are North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and former Florida/Louisiana Tech signal caller Jeff Driskel.

Even though Pro Football Focus rated Dahl as the best pass blocker among all offensive tackles in college football last season, he is listed on the Senior Bowl roster as an offensive guard.

Many NFL talent evaluators think Dahl will have to make a move inside because of his lack of size.

“Joe Dahl is going to be interesting because he doesn’t necessarily profile to a tackle at the next level,” Pro Football Focus Senior Analyst Mike Renner said in a pre-Senior Bowl interview with Cris Collinsworth. “He’s graded out well in pass protection and he moves well, but he might be a guard because he’s limited height-wise and length-wise.

“How he transitions to guard? Can be hold up in the run game? Both those question marks need to be answered in (the Senior Bowl).”

CBS Sports NFL Draft Analyst Rob Rang also sees Dahl as an interior offensive lineman because of his height and arm length, and says he could even be asked to play center depending on how he does in team interviews.

“I’m curious to interview him and get a feel for his intelligence as a football player,” Rang said, who says Dahl has adequate strength and “terrific” balance – both qualities necessary for success as an NFL offensive lineman.

“I do feel confident that he’ll turn some heads at the Senior Bowl because he does play with that knee bend that allows him to anchor against powerful players,” Rang said. “It’s a testament to his talent that the Senior Bowl stuck with him even with the injury.

“It’s a testament to his own work ethic as well that he’s come back to perform at the Senior Bowl. He’s certainly going to be tested because the best talent in the draft this year is along the defensive line.”

Despite his perceived lack of size, there’s reason to believe that Dahl might still get a shot at playing tackle.

Steve Palazzolo, a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus, disagrees with his colleague Renner’s assessment that Dahl should move inside.

 In his breakdown of Senior Bowl offensive players to watch, Palazzolo notes that even though Dahl has already gotten some flack for his “scrawny arms,” he can “mirror pass rushes at left tackle and posted our top pass protection grade each of the last two seasons.”

Dahl’s weaknesses?

“He’s quite susceptible to the bull rush, and he’s limited as a run blocker,” Palazzolo writes. “But that’s a near-identical profile to Green Bay left tackle David Bakhtiari, who has done more good than bad as a pass blocker in his three seasons.

“A move to guard due to arm length issues would exacerbate Dahl’s weaknesses and lose his strength which is handling outside speed rushers.”

Bakhtiari, by the way, was drafted out of Colorado by the Packers in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

 

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