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Dohnovan West Flexing Interior Experience, Football IQ

West says he can play across the interior, bolstering his draft stock.

Former Arizona State Sun Devils center Dohnovan West is supposed to be here. 

Growing up with a brother that played football inspired him to follow in those footsteps, which led him to the sights and sounds of Indianapolis for the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. 

"For the most part (I have my) eyes wide open. I didn't really know what to expect so I'm just taking it all in, one by one. Just being around all the great players, this is the best of the best and it's crazy to see everyone in the same room," said West during his media availability during the week of the Combine.

West spent three seasons at Arizona State prior to declaring for the draft after a strong 2021 campaign that saw him pave the way for one of the Pac-12's strongest rushing attacks. 

West finished the 2021 season as a second-team Pac-12 center, although he was unable to appear in Arizona State's bowl game due to hand surgery. West was named to the Rimington and Outland Trophy award watch lists while also earning preseason first-team All-Conference honors at center and PFF All-America honors prior to the season.

Out of all the traits West brings to the table, versatility is the most common attribute associated with him thanks to his experience across the interior.

"I think (versatility) is very important. Because going to a team, I can play all three interior spots in case someone goes down wherever. I can fill in that role," said West.

"To be honest I feel comfortable playing across all three (spots) across the board, whether it's the right side, left side or center. I started throughout my college career, I played three different positions and I'm willing to do that again. Hopefully I can solidify a spot somewhere, but at this point I don't really care where it is as long as I'm getting that opportunity to play. 

"I feel like at center you kind of have to know every position on the offensive line anyway so I feel like that will benefit me at the end of the day. I don't think it's something that's too difficult. As long as I go out there and show I can do it, why not?"

West admitted that teams asked him in interviews where he would like to play.

He said, "To be honest, they (NFL teams) have asked me and I've given them the same answers as you guys: I'm willing to play whatever position. So yeah, I don't really know. I feel like most teams see me as a center, but if I have to play guard or they want me to play guard I'm willing to do that."

West says he majored in Interdisciplinary studies with a focus in organizational leadership and communication and has two more semesters left. 

As for what he's been working towards to better himself in the offseason, West said, "A lot of mobility and flexibility stuff as well as gaining strength and weight. I played throughout most of my college career at like 280-285 area, so right now I'm around 295 and I feel like that's where I can be playing the best at."

When tasked with coming up with his best attribute as a blocker, West added, "My ability to get to the second level quickly and reach defenders that seem pretty wide in alignment. I feel like that's definitely a better part of my game."

West was able to reflect on his time at Arizona State, as he appeared excited for the next generation of offensive linemen to come through Tempe with one name on his mind when asked who he was excited for next season.

"Probably left guard Ladarius Henderson. He came in at the same time as me, got to play as a true freshman. He's been grinding and he's going to show the rest of the world what he has to offer this season," West said.

West says ASU ran a lot of different schemes throughout the year, but added what the Sun Devils ran best was outside zone. Here's how he explained how he was able to utilize his back-side hand when zone-blocking:

"I feel like having that back-side hand there is a leverage piece. If they (the defensive players) are trying to fight across my face, I'm going to take them out and the running back will usually cut off my back. If I'm able to seal them, that would be the most ideal situation, but often times they're all on scholarship too so they're, at the end of the day, pretty good athletes.

"So in the pre-snap situation, we ran no-huddle most of the time so (quarterback) Jayden (Daniels) would get the call from the sideline. And then from there, depending on if it was a pass or a run, we would also get a direction call. If it's a run, I'm going to identify the stack that I'm working to and then everyone else is going to identify their linebacker based off my point and if it's a pass play, our base would be to slide away from the running back. If there's any pressure or what not, I would redirect it."

Arizona State has been under NCAA investigation since June, as negative attention surrounded the program all the way to the present day. 

"For the most part I just blocked it out because there's nothing you can really do as a player in that situation. You just got to focus on what you can control and week-to-week we had games to play so I was focusing on winning games as much as possible," said West, who also admitted it helped ASU in a way.

"It definitely was like that (describing a 'us against the world' feeling) throughout the year especially with all the doubters and stuff. In a way, it kind of made the team closer because we had more to prove towards everybody else.

"Especially in a time where they're under a lot of heat, it's good to be out here just to show that ASU can still compete with the rest of the people out there. They're going through a lot of stuff right now, being out here representing (Arizona State) as well as I can. It means a lot." 

However, with his time at Arizona State in the rearview mirror, West's focus is now on the future, with a high possibility of hearing his name called at some point in the draft.

"I haven't really thought about it too much. I think I'm going to take it one step at a time and whenever I am blessed to hear my name called, I'll just enjoy that moment with my friends and family," said West.

West's plans aren't set in stone for draft day, yet much like his playing career, he's able to handle a few different responsibilities whenever called upon. 

One lucky NFL team is about to find that out.