INDIANAPOLIS – Maryland cornerback Dexter McDougle has elected not to take part in any of the drills at the NFL Scouting Combine because he needs more time to get back into top shape after missing all but three games of his senior season with a shoulder injury that required surgery.
In the first three games of the season, McDougle recorded three interceptions – one of which he returned for a touchdown. But in that third game, against Connecticut, McDougle went in low for a tackle and suffered what is called a glenoid neck fracture. (The bone is actually connected to his shoulder, not his neck, though).
He recently received clearance to resume physical activities. Four weeks ago, he received an invitation to the combine despite the fact that he had missed nearly all of his senior season. McDougle had hoped to at least take part in the defensive back drills, but earlier this week decided against it.
“It’s definitely hard,” he said on Sunday. “When I found out I was going to the combine, I was like, ‘I’m going to at least do the DB drills, and I’ll go out there and do that.’ I’ve been doing that the last couple weeks, and I really came down to about two days ago that I made the decision not to, and it really sucks because you work so hard for this. I got injured, but still got the invite. I want to come out and prove to everyone. But I don’t want to go out there and not be at my best. So, I’m going to take a step back and I’m going to be ready for my Pro Day.”
Maryland’s Pro Day will take place April 8.
The 5-foot-10, 196-pound McDougle has still taken advantage of the opportunity to interview with teams, and he remains confident that he can compete in the NFL.
Heeding lessons that his father – a retired Marine – taught him, McDougle refused to become discouraged. He maintained a positive outlook throughout the season and embraced his role as a player-coach and used the time on the sideline to increase his knowledge of the finer details of the game.
“I think I can be a good, impact player,” said McDougle, who has worked to pattern his game after those of Denver’s Quentin Jammer and Dallas’s Orlando Scandrick. “I really elevated my game from my junior year to my senior year. You can see that in the film. Me and my D-coordinator really sat down in the offseason, looked at what I need to work on and worked on that in the offseason and the results were showing my senior year. … I won’t lose a beat.
“This next six weeks will be crucial for me,” he added. “I’m going to put in a lot of work. I’ve already been doing that. But on the next level, I’m definitely going to compete: special teams, dime, nickel and on the outside as well. I’ll embrace my role, whatever it is.”