Josh Kendall

‘In God’s hands’: Dennis Daley’s football journey not over yet

Dennis Daley thankful for NFL Combine experience

Dennis Daley talks about being at the NFL Combine and what he expects in the draft.
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Dennis Daley talks about being at the NFL Combine and what he expects in the draft.

Dennis Daley wanted to run the 40-yard dash in 5.0 seconds at the NFL Combine. He didn’t hit that number, but it still is going to be tough to wipe the smile off his face.

“When I first started out playing, I did not think I would be in this position. It’s a blessing,” Daley said. “I’m really enjoying this experience. It’s been busy — that’s in a good way though. It’s a lot of exposure.”

Daley said he wanted “a 5.0 flat” in the 40.

“I’m mainly trying to impress people with my 40 time,” he said.

On Friday, Daley ran a 5.23, which ranked 25th among the offensive linemen who ran this year. The 6-foot-5, 317-pounder also had a 26.5-inch vertical jump, a 103-inch broad jump and ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.92 seconds.

The Columbia native started 23 games at South Carolina, including 12 last year at left tackle. Most NFL teams believe he projects as a right tackle at the next level, he said. After graduating from Ridge View in 2015, Daley played in 2015 and 2016 at Georgia Military College before joining the Gamecocks.

“They weren’t my only option but I chose to commit there (out of high school) because I actually wanted to play there,” he said. “I felt like it was a good opportunity for me.”

Daley was ranked the 10th-best offensive tackle prospect in this year’s class before the combine, placed in a category called “roster depth/intriguing developmental blockers.”

He is ranked 11th among tackles by WalterFootball.com, which suggests he could be a mid-round pick.

“In the 2019 NFL Draft’s weak offensive line class, he could rise,” the website wrote. NFL teams “really like his skill set, but his inconsistencies and playing down to some competition make him a very frustrating prospect for some scouts. That same pattern revealed itself with Daley at the Senior Bowl.”

Daley said he will enter April’s draft with few expectations.

“I am just putting it in God’s hands,” he said. “It’s God’s plan.”

He also credited Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen with helping make him a better player. Allen, who is expected to be a top 10 draft pick this year, had eight tackles, including three sacks, in a 24-10 win over the Gamecocks in September.

“He’s a real good player. He’s got real good bend. He gets around the edge,” Daley said. “He’s real good at that, and he never stops. He’s got that motor. Facing Josh Allen, it put in the back of my head, ‘I never want to go through this again.’ I kind of took my preparation to another level.”

How To Watch NFL Combine

The NFL Network will carry player drills live and highlights through Monday.

Saturday

7 a.m. to 10 a.m. – Review of Friday workouts

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Live coverage of quarterback, wide receiver and tight end drills

5 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Highlights and review

Sunday

6 a.m. to 9 a.m. – Review of Saturday workouts

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Live coverage of defensive line and linebacker drills

4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Highlights and review

Monday

9 a.m. to 7 p.m. – Live coverage of defensive back drills

8 p.m. to 11 p.m. – Highlights and review

Josh Kendall has covered SEC football for almost 20 years. He has covered the Gamecocks since the 2010 season. Have a question? Shoot him an email or find him on Twitter, and he’ll be happy to respond.
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