As the Mountaineers season draws to a close, many in the senior class are looking at the next step in their careers–whether that is on or off the gridiron.
With the help from the folks at NFL Draft Bible, we received a list of all players invited to the East-West Shrine Game, NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, and Senior Bowl. Three current WVU players have received invites as well as one player who transferred to FIU.
Here’s the list:
Tyler Orlosky – Senior Bowl
Adam Pankey – East-West Shrine Game
Jeremy Tyler – NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
Imarjaye Albury (transfer from WVU to FIU) – East-West Shrine Game
With the 2016 college football season drawing to a close, it’s not too early to focus on the 2017 NFL Draft.
Since the Dana Holgorsen era started at West Virginia in 2011, WVU has enjoyed tremendous success putting players “in the league”. This includes four first round draft picks (Bruce Irvin, Tavon Austin, Kevin White, and Karl Joseph). In total 17 players have been drafted since Holgorsen has been at the helm, including five in last year’s draft.
We will take a look at this year’s senior crop and see what their football future might hold come April. As the draft season kicks into high gear we will keep you updated and informed on each player’s stock as draft day approaches.
Adam Pankey, OT , 6’-5” 316 – A three-year starter for the Mountaineers, Pankey is one of the most reliable members of what has become a dominant West Virginia offensive line. He is a big, tough road-grader type tackle. With the recent success of West Virginia lineman in the NFL (Mark Glowinski, Quenton Spain) you could see Pankey drafted in the late rounds in April. NFL comparison – Bryan Bulaga
Rushel Shell, RB, 5’-10” 225 – The former 5-star recruit has the size to play and compete in the NFL but has been out with an ankle injury since early October. Shell is best when he runs downhill between the tackles. A good performance, especially a fast 40 time, at pro day will be key to Shell’s NFL future. If Shell can post some impressive measurables look for him to sneak into the late rounds of the draft. NFL comparison – C.J. Anderson
Dakiel Shorts, WR, 6’-1” 202 – Shorts has decent size but it will be his route running and great hands that will ultimately land him with an NFL team. He is an intelligent and polished receiver who given the right situation could adapt quickly to an NFL offense. Shorts was a four-year starter for WVU and one of the most dependable if not underrated receivers in school history. We see Shorts as a middle to late round selection in the 2017 draft. NFL comparison – Reggie Wayne
Maurice Fleming, CB, 5’-11” 203 – Fleming was a graduate transfer from Iowa so he has experience playing in two different Power 5 conferences. Fleming performed well in man-to-man coverage and is a sure tackler. Since Fleming has performed well in the pass happy Big 12 he should get some looks via free agency from NFL teams as a corner or safety. NFL comparison – Malcolm Butler
Tyler Orlosky , C, 6’-4” 296 – A four-year starter and team captain Orlosky was a preseason Big 12 and All-American selection. Orlosky is the anchor of one of the best lines WVU has had in years. Orlosky has a unique blend of intelligence and the coveted “nasty streak”. While there are some questions regarding Orlosky’s athleticism, there are none better as far as hands and technique go. He says he is comfortable sliding to guard as well. He will be a 3rd or 4th round selection in the 2017 NFL draft. NFL comparison – Weston Richburg
Noble Nwachukwu, DE, 6’-2” 275 – A three-year starter at defensive end, Nwachukwu had an impressive junior season compiling 8.5 sacks and 13 total tackles for a loss. This year Nwachukwu has had some nagging injuries which have limited his production. Nwachukwu’s pass rushing abilities are a valuable commodity in the NFL. There is always a place for a defensive end that can get to the quarterback. Look for Nwachukwu to be a late rounder or free agent signee. NFL comparison – Dwight Freeney
Rasul Douglas, CB , 6’-2” 203 – A New Jersey native and JUCO transfer Douglas is by far and away the most improved player on West Virginia’s roster, leading the nation in interceptions with eight. Douglas is tall and lean and is not afraid to come up and make a tackle in run support. His cover ability this year has been second to none and he has high potential heading into the draft. If Douglas can put up good numbers at the combine he will be looking at no worse than being a second round pick come draft day. NFL comparison – Richard Sherman