With the OTA’s coming to a close, the NFL has gone dormant until the start of training camps at the end of July. This gives us a moment here at WVUPros to collect our breath and prepare for the upcoming season. With 18 WVU players currently on NFL rosters, we take this opportunity to look at a few players on the current Mountaineer roster who could join them next year.
In the last two years, five Mountaineers have been selected in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. Tavon Austin, Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey in 2013, and Charles Sims and Will Clarke this year. Of the seniors on this years roster–we won’t talk about the underclassmen here–three stand out as being potential draft picks next year. There could, hopefully, be more than that. For now, we bring you our Top 3 in no particular order:
Quinton Spain, OG
The Mountaineers have a good pedigree of putting offensive linemen into the NFL. From Barclay to Braham to Fox, WVU usually produces at least one or two players every year with NFL-level talent. This year, that offensive lineman is a true hogmalie. At 6’5″, 335 pounds, Spain is a true mountain of a man. He can line up at either spot on the left side, at guard or tackle. His size makes him bigger than most of the top offensive linemen selected in this past draft (his is the same height and three pounds heavier than #2 overall pick, Greg Robinson).
The biggest thing for him to work on in his senior season is his technique, particularly with his hands. Lining up at guard this season could be his best bet for moving up draft boards.
Dreamius Smith, RB
In one of the most loaded backfields in Mountaineer memory, Smith has a chance of being this year’s Charles Sims. A do-everything back, Smith is a player Holgorsen can line up anywhere in the backfield or line up in the slot. He has the quick feet and lateral ability to shake defenders, but must improve on his vision to recognize and hit the holes.
If he does that, and become more of a factor in the passing game–he caught two passes last season–Smith could emerge as one of the best backs in the Big 12 next season and could emerge as a multi-faceted tool offensive coordinators desire in the NFL.
Shaquille Riddick, DE
Will Clarke 2.0? Riddick is a graduate transfer from FCS Gardner-Webb, and has yet to play a snap in a Mountaineer uniform, but could be the first Mountaineer selected in next year’s draft. He has one year of eligibility remaining to show that his performance against FCS level talent wasn’t a fluke. Named as an All-American last year, Riddick had 8.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss.
He has added nearly 75 pounds to his frame since graduating from high school, which was a factor in him not receiving more attention coming out. Riddick is a high-motor player who will not quit on a play and is quick off the snap. In his lone season at WVU, he needs to show he has the functional strength to ward off blockers at the FBS level while keeping up his level of play. His size, speed and awareness makes him an intriguing NFL prospect like Clarke.