I have three rules I live my life by.
1. God has a plan for all of us. 2. Family matters. 3. Never bet against a Dreiling.
As April nears its end and May flowers begin to bloom, so, too, will come the NFL Draft. And as each name is called, Nate Dreiling will hope someone reads his. You may remember Nate as the star linebacker of such teams as Hutchinson High School and Pittsburg State University football.
“All it takes is one team to like what you’ve done,” Dreiling said.
But we have to face facts. Dreiling knows his name will not be called May 8. Or May 9. Or probably even May 10. By the end of that Saturday, 256 names will be read out, and not one will likely be Dreiling.
His work will then start in earnest. Dreiling hopes for a team to take a gamble on him in free agency. The best chance for the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder comes from shining on special teams and in a backup linebacker role.
“As long as I just get a shot at making a team, that’d be an honor,” Dreiling said.
Of course, we all know undrafted free agents cannot cut it in the big leagues.
To confirm this, I took a gander at some former undrafted free agents. Adam Vinatieri, James Harrison, Kurt Warner, Warren Moon – anybody ever heard of these guys? Actually, upon further review, that’s a collective seven Super Bowl rings, 20 Pro Bowls and one Hall of Famer so far (Moon).
OK, bad example.
But let us not overlook that someone who played Division II football could not possibly succeed in the NFL. Brent Grimes? Jahri Evans? Matt Overton? What have those guys ever done in the NFL, besides make the 2014 Pro Bowl?
“They put so many hours into breaking down a player,” Dreiling said. “Once they realize that you can play, they say they don’t care what the competition looks like.”
It should not take too much film to realize Dreiling can play. One does not rack up 491 tackles and become a four-time All-American by standing around slurping Gatorade.