Dick Harmon: BYU safety Daniel Sorensen hopes NFL combine performance pays draft dividends
Tom Smart, Deseret News
Former BYU safety Daniel Sorensen will take a call from the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday as his dream to play in the NFL rolls along before the draft on May 8.
The last time Sorensen’s name was flying around, he blew up the NFL combine in Indianapolis two months ago. Sorensen wowed scouts by posting tremendous numbers in the shuttle drills. It's safe to say you’d have to look hard to find a Utah collegian who posted combine data like Sorensen did, albeit his outstanding marks were in shuttle runs instead of the more popular 40-yard dash or 225-pound bench lift.
Did his combine performance elevate his stock?
Perhaps, but it won’t get him drafted in the top two or three rounds.
“The drills I did well with were something I’ve always done well with — changing direction — and going in, I knew I would be putting up some good numbers,” said Sorensen.
It did put him in the record book and made him more of an NFL curiosity. It gave him exposure and expanded the type of role he may have in the league — if not as a safety, as a special teams contributor.
“I’ve been working out every day, looking at film and just getting ready for the draft,” Sorensen said over the weekend from California. His workout regimen has taken place in Provo on BYU’s campus. He is represented by sports agent Jim Grogan out of Reno, Nevada.
Sorensen’s three-cone drill at the combine was the fastest of any position player in the combine and the fastest time since 2006 by a safety. His time in the 60-yard shuttle was the fastest recorded by a safety in the past nine combines and fourth-fastest by a safety all time. His 20-yard shuttle was the fastest by any defensive back in Indianapolis in 2014.
While waiting for the draft, Sorensen has collected a lot of valuable advice from his older brother Brad, a former BYU and SUU quarterback who was drafted by the San Diego Chargers.
“He’s given me a ton of advice. At least once a week he calls and asks me if I’ve done this, or that, given me things to think about, what to say to a scout, what to be working on. He’s been a great source for me since he’s been through the system and he’s somebody I respect for what he’s gone through.”
As excited as Sorensen is about the upcoming draft, he isn’t quickly letting go of BYU. He watched spring drills and is excited about what the Cougars having coming up in 2014 starting with his likely replacement Craig Bills, who started at the other safety position last year.
“Craig has a lot of experience and he’s talented. I think there are new players coming in and Dallin Leavitt is playing well, so are others. There are three or four players who can play different positions and I wouldn’t be surprised if just more than two play in that kat position this year.”
Sorensen said BYU “absolutely” has more depth and versatility in the secondary than at any time he has been in the program. “They are at least three deep in every position. The corners are very good and they have several guys who can step in and play and have proven they can play.
“Last year we had players come in an step up in the corner position when potential starters had knee surgery (Trent Trammell and Jordan Johnson). Now they’re all back and so are the starters like Robertson Daniel.”
Sorensen said his interview with the Eagles is one of the first he’s scheduled. “Other teams have asked for my contact information so they can get ahold of me before or during the draft.”
It remains to be seen what will happen to Sorensen in the draft.
Grandson of the man considered the founder of Utah Valley University as it's morphed from the old Utah Technical College, Wilson Sorensen, there is one thing we do know come draft weekend:
When the phone rings, he will quickly shuttle to answer the call.
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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