Detroit Lions? St. Louis Rams? Atlanta Falcons? Warrenton's Dusty McGrorty could possibly be wearing the uniform of any one of those three teams after this weekend's NFL Draft, which takes place Saturday and Sunday in New York City.

After four highly successful seasons at Southern Oregon University, McGrorty is hoping to hear his name called this weekend - but even if it isn't, the former Warrior is confident that he'll get a shot at the NFL, somewhere, somehow.

"Realistically, it's probably going to be as a free agent," McGrorty said Wednesday. "I've heard from St. Louis, Detroit and the Falcons - I've talked to all three just about every day this week.

"Detroit's a little more interested, and they're kind of stuck on the free agent thing. I really don't know. Late round could be possible, but I'm not going to get my hopes up for that."

McGrorty was rated by The Sporting News as the 43rd-best running back available for this year's draft. Only 14 running backs were taken in the 2003 draft.

McGrorty will still spend draft day at home, monitoring the event on ESPN. If McGrorty goes undrafted, the Rams and Lions will be there waiting.

"Both St. Louis and Detroit have said that they're going to offer me a free agent contract seconds after the draft is over, if I don't get drafted," he said.

McGrorty has certainly done his part during four years of football (three as an All-American) at Southern Oregon, where he finished his career with 5,414 yards rushing (No. 4 all-time among NAIA players), 79 touchdowns and 474 points (No. 2 all-time in both). His 75 rushing touchdowns is the top mark in the NAIA.

At the conclusion of the 2003 season, McGrorty played in the annual Blue-Gray Classic on Christmas Day, then recently took part in SOU's version of an NFL scouting combine.

"We had a mini-combine here at SOU," he said. "It was just for our punter (Steve Baker), receiver (Andrae Thurman) and me.

"I tested real well," McGrorty said. Speed-wise, "I ran a 4.57 40, and Steven Jackson ran a 4.55, so I'm right in there with his speed."

Jackson, from Oregon State, was rated as the best running back in the draft by The Sporting News.

Strengthwise, "they said my bench was over the standard," said McGrorty, who benched 225 pounds 27 times.

In addition, the college All-Star game in December "helped me out a lot," he said. "Coming from an NAIA school, they don't know if you can play at that level.

"A lot of teams are looking at me as a fullback, and that's primarily what I had to play. They got to see that I can play with that level of competition."

As for his possible future employer, the three teams which have kept in touch with McGrorty are all a little thin at fullback. The Falcons' projected starter is Justin Griffith, a fourth-round pick in last year's draft. And both the Lions and Rams have listed running back as a priority in the draft.

"St. Louis, Atlanta and Detroit have all talked to me about playing fullback," McGrorty said. "They would want to use me as a throw-to back out of the backfield, because they said I'm quicker than the fullbacks they've had - just a little smaller, but they thought I blocked well in the Blue-Gray game."

The San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers also showed interest in McGrorty early on, but "I haven't heard anything further, since last season," he said.

"I'm going to sit home Saturday and be nervous, and hopefully something will happen by Sunday. If it doesn't, both those teams (Rams and Lions) have said that they have a free agent contract for me, so hopefully that will turn out well."

McGrorty adds, "As a kid I always wanted to play for the Seahawks, because it was close to home and that was just the hometown team.

"I just want to get my shot. If I'm not good enough, I'm not good enough. I just want to go to the place where I have the best chance of making the final roster."

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