The NFL has come calling for Genoa’s Michael Deiter

By: 
Mark Griffin

Everything else led to this moment for Michael Deiter.
An All-Ohio career as a two-way linemen for his hometown Genoa Comets was followed by a redshirt freshman season at the University of Wisconsin. Four years later, Deiter, 22, had started more games (54) than any other player in Badgers history
Deiter grew up dreaming of becoming a professional hockey player, but there aren’t any 6-foot-5, 310-pound defensemen in the NHL. He stuck with football and it paid off, literally. At 10:12 p.m. on Friday, April 26, the Miami Dolphins phoned Deiter at his family’s home on the second day of the NFL draft and offered him an opportunity to make their 2019 roster.
The Dolphins made Deiter, a guard who also played center and tackle at Wisconsin, the 14th pick (78th overall) in the third round. Deiter’s parents, Deanne and Dave, his sister, Megan, his grandparents and his girlfriend and other friends all heard the exciting news on the spot.
Deiter said he felt “super comfortable” that he would get drafted in the first few rounds.
I thought I could go in the second round,” he said. “I was told there was no shot that I wouldn’t get drafted in the third. After the second round, I was little nervous. I was hoping to get it done then. The third round kept going on and on, and I heard the Redskins would be taking me at (pick) 76. When they didn’t pick me, I was more nervous after that.”
Thirty seconds after the Redskins made their pick, Deiter said Dolphins general manager Chris Grier phoned him and started talking. And talking. Deiter said he doesn’t really remember the details of what Grier said.
He said a lot,” Deiter said. “It’s a huge blur. It was like I just kept saying, ‘yes.’ I talked to the owner, the head coach (Brian Flores), my line coach, for 15 to 20 minutes. I did some interviews right then with some Dolphins media outlets. I talked with a player personnel person and he said, ‘I’m going to transfer you to some media people.’ I was still taken aback that I got picked.”
Deiter was a busy man in the weeks leading up to the draft. Wisconsin hosted a Pro Day for prospective NFL suitors, and Deiter got to showcase his physical prowess and do more informal interviews at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. He competed in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. He visited Atlanta and New York to undergo more poking and prodding from NFL teams, who leave no stone unturned when they research potential employees.
They did interviews and they do a medical day, to see if you have any injuries,” Deiter said. “It was like a mini-combine. The combine (in Indianapolis) went smooth. I was there four days. It was extremely stressful. You don’t get a lot of sleep and you are interviewing with NFL teams all day. You’re getting wrenched on by doctors and they try to expose any injuries you’ve had. They want to know if you’re going to hold up or not.”
This is what one NFL draft analysis had to say about Deiter prior to last Thursday:
Deiter is a versatile interior offensive lineman prospect with experience lining up at center, left guard and left tackle. He plays with good pad level, and he gets good initial push in the running game. He shows some shock in his hands, and he does an adequate job of anchoring in pass protection.”
Deiter said his pass protection skills are fine, despite playing in a run-heavy offense at Wisconsin. He said he’ll play whatever position the Dolphins need him to play.
They’re a typical pro-style offense,” he said. “They run a lot of the gap-scheme stuff like we did at Wisconsin. I would like to play anywhere in the middle. The (NFL) tackles have super-long arms and they’re athletic. A bunch of teams told me that, in a pinch, I could play tackle because I’ve done it before.
My mindset is to compete to start (this season). If it doesn’t happen, it’s not end of the world. If it does happen, that’s what we expected.”
Deiter will be playing his home games in the same stadium, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, where he and the Badgers played the 2017 Orange Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes. Playing in cold games in Madison, Wisc., are now a fond memory.
I’m going to be tan,” Deiter said. “Obviously I have to get used to playing football in the (warmer) weather. Everyone I’ve talked to says it’s something you get used to. You don’t have to worry about getting cold and pulling a muscle, and you’re never freezing.”
Deiter wasn’t the only Wisconsin player drafted by the Dolphins. Miami also took Deiter’s teammate, outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, in the fifth round last Saturday. Deiter said he and Van Ginkel will make the trip together to the Dolphins’ rookie mini-camp on May 9.
We are super close,” Deiter said. “The first thing I did when I saw they picked him was say, ‘no way!’ I texted him and he texted me back and said he was ready to go and he was excited.”
Deiter added that he is “super glad” the draft process is over.
“It was a cool experience,” he said. “The process is kind of long. You look back at Pro Day, the 

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