Camiel, Oliver ready to make the most of NFL opportunities

Dimitric Camiel is staying home.

And on Saturday afternoon, when the former Indiana right tackle agreed to a free-agent deal with his hometown Houston Texans, that may have been the best news of all for his mother, Andrea.

“She screamed for a good five minutes,” Camiel said.

Although they weren’t drafted, it turned out to be a good weekend for Camiel and former IU teammate Marcus Oliver, who also agreed to a free agent deal Saturday with the Philadelphia Eagles.

After spending the past few years in Bloomington, and helping IU’s program to back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time since 1990-91, Camiel and Oliver now have the opportunity to continue their football careers at the NFL level.

Both players believed there was a chance they could have been selected on Saturday’s final day of the draft. No, they did not hear their names called, but their phones were buzzing late in the afternoon with calls from teams trying to line up potential free-agent deals.

“It was nerve-wracking at first because I was hearing that I would go anywhere from late in the fifth (round) to anywhere on down,” Camiel said. “So as the draft went on, I was like, ‘Man, am I going to get picked? What’s going on?’ Just natural feelings. Then, I was talking to my agent about some options and I got a call from the Texans.”

Oliver went into the draft’s final day recognizing that the free-agent avenue was a possibility. The Baltimore Ravens expressed interest in the days leading up to the draft and Oliver’s agent was also working the phones to line up additional options for the All-Big Ten linebacker should he go undrafted.

“I knew Philadelphia had contacted the school and contacted my agent a few times,” Oliver said. “They needed inside linebackers, but I never really talked to them before the draft. In the middle of the draft, Round 7, they called me out of nowhere before the draft had ended. There were a lot of things going on with a lot of different teams trying to figure out where I was going to go before the draft even ended. … It was just about trying to find the best fit for me knowing I was going to get an opportunity no matter what.”

Both players will report to their respective rookie minicamps on May 11.

Right tackle was a primary need for the Texans, who lost starter Derek Newton to torn patellar tendons last season. It’s unclear if Newton will play this season, so Houston also drafted Bucknell tackle Julien Davenport in the fourth round.

With a strong showing next week and beyond, Camiel, who made 20 starts for IU across the past three seasons, has a decent chance to make the team.

He’s ready to put in the work.

“The difference between the NFL and college is you can get cut so fast, or so easily,” Camiel said. “More importantly than them needing a right tackle, I just have to go in and show that I can play at that level and be someone that they’ll be willing to invest in and keep me around. That’s the most important thing.”

Oliver sees his oportunity in Philadelphia under similar terms.

He wants to go to camp next week and show he’s more versatile than some may believe. Oliver said his agent, in dealing with NFL teams during recent weeks, was adamant that the former Hoosier was more than just a Mike linebacker.

“I know a lot of people just talked about me as a Mike,” Oliver said. “It was frustrating, but it’s just something I have to prove. … I feel like their Will position could be something I could work at. I feel comfortable playing both (Mike and Will) because I came into college and played my whole career at Will and kind of worked in at Mike. Then this last year I took over Mike completely because we have Tegray (Scales) at Will.”

Either way, Oliver is confident he’ll make a solid impression. That he worked under three different defenses during his four years at IU will help him quickly pick up schemes and adjust on the fly, Oliver said.

“I just gotta go in there with confidence and never doubt myself,” Oliver said. “Never doubting myself to this point has gotten me to where I am.”

Camiel agrees. He’s ready to go to work for his hometown team, and he knows that a strong first impression will go a long way toward ensuring his friends and family have more reasons to cheer.

“I haven’t been home in a very long time,” Camiel said, “so they were just happy that I get to stay home a little longer. Hopefully everything works out and they’ll be able to attend some games like in high school.”

4 comments

  1. Good Luck to both of you as you did so much to help IUFB. Go to those camps and show the coaches how good you are and why you should make the 53 man roster. Hoosier nation is rooting for both of you.

  2. I read where Redding and Paige got tryouts at rookie camps for NFL teams. Redding was with Kansas City and Paige with the Colts & 49ers. They have their chance so I hope a team likes what they see and brings them into training camp.

  3. Whether you get drafted in the 4th or 5th round or get a free agent contract is a wash for a rookie. All you can ask for is a chance to get a foot in the door.

    Then, it’s fish or cut bait.

    Love to see Luck throwing to Paige. He’s a tough minded young man.

  4. Paige is a authentic ‘gamer’ in my eye. His soft, competent hands and sound judgement in the return game are valuable skills in the NFL. Also seldom on the injured list.

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