The NFL Draft this year was like going to Disney World and waiting in line 90 minutes for your favorite ride that last 90 seconds. After the seemingly endless wait, the anticipation mounted and the draft, like a Disney ride, came and went in the blink of an eye.
Now that we have had time to catch our breath, lets look back and reflect on the exhilarating weekend. Throughout the weekend, you brought you the latest news on the draft picks from WVU and the flurry of activity of the players who went undrafted in the aftermath. This article is an effort to tie everything together and put a pretty bow on it.
The first Mountaineer to come off the board was Charles Sims. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected the versatile RB in the Third Round with the 69th overall pick. He joins Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey and Mike James in the Bucs backfield. New head coach Lovie Smith sees Sims as a complement to the starter, Martin, particularly as a threat in the passing game.
“I definitely think there are similarities between Charles [Sims] and Matt Forte” Lovie Smith said. “But you know, Matt [Forte] is an All-Pro, has been in the league a long time, has played at a certain level. But we like the potential of Charles [Sims], and we thought he brought something different to the running back positions. I’m talking about as a pass catcher out of the backfield, splitting him out wide, some things we did do with Matt Forte.”
Sims is among the early Vegas favorites to win the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award.
The second and last Mountaineer to get drafted was Will Clarke by the Cincinnati Bengals later in the Third Round. Analyst Mike Mayock of the NFL Network loves his upside and the Bengals drafted him to add depth up front. He measured 6-foot-6, 271 pounds at the NFL Combine, but Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther believes he still has room to grow and twenty pounds of muscle.
On Saturday, the NFL conducted Rounds 4-7 without a single WVU player getting selected. Afterwards, teams scrambled to sign undrafted players. Curtis Feigt was signed to join Clarke in Cincy; Doug Rigg will join the Monsters of the Midway in Chicago; Darwin Cook signed with his hometown Cleveland Browns; and Shaq Rowell signed with the Panthers. WVIllustrated.com reports that OL Pat Eger has a tryout planned with the New York Giants, Baltimore and Miami per John Antonik.
All of these players will take part in their respective team’s rookie mini-camps over the next two weeks. Oh, and Rowell be joined by Noel Devine in Charlotte who was invited to Panthers’ rookie camp on a tryout basis. The team is loaded at RB, but the team is in search of a kick returner to replace the departed Ted Ginn Jr.