Former Mountaineer and current BlueGoldSports.com staff writer Julian Miller gives his in depth predictions of where he believes Mountaineers will go in this years NFL draft.
Karl Joseph 1st round, pick 18 Indianapolis Colts – The Colts have many holes to fill which is surprising after the free agency period they had last off season. After finishing 24th in passing defense last year and with comparisons to ex-Colt and NFL Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders, Joseph would be a perfect fit here. Owner Bill Polian took a chance on Sanders as a high draft pick years ago and it helped pay off as the Colts won the Super Bowl in 2006 with much help from Sanders defensive play. Joseph has the same skill set and tough mentality to not only be a leader of a defense but a potential game changing defender.
KJ Dillon 2nd round, pick 36 Baltimore Ravens – With the departure of Safety Will Hill the Ravens will be looking to add depth at that position. Picking up veteran Eric Weddle was a start, but adding some youth may be the best route when looking at the future. The Ravens pride themselves on their defense and Dillon is a rangy safety with exceptional cover skills who can play man and excel in zone coverages. Weddle would be a great mentor to Dillon and ultimately pave the way for him to be a defensive piece in Baltimore for years to come.
Wendell Smallwood 4th round, pick 120 Washington Redskins – After losing someone as productive Alfred Morris to division rival Dallas, the Redskins could look to add depth at running back. Matt Jones stepped up last year and showed promise, but still seems to be more of a 3rd down vertical offense type back. Smallwood could step in and become the late round bell cow that Morris was for Washington but better. With 4.3 speed and an ability to break away at the second level while taking on contact, Smallwood possesses the skill set to be a starter in the NFL. The 2015 Big 12 rushing champ would fit perfect in this offense as an upgraded replacement to departed Morris.
Nick Kwaitkoski 4th round, pick 138 Cleveland Browns – The Browns are in complete rebuild mode. Linebacker is a position in which needs to be addressed via the draft after they released leading tackler Karlos Dansby this offseason. Kwaitkoski was a very productive linebacker for WVU while wearing the old gold and blue and could display that same productivity in the right system and scheme. Whether it be at inside or at outside linebacker, Kwaitkoski is a tackling machine with the skills to be effective in coverage as well as make plays in the open field.
Daryl Worley 6th round, pick 181 Jacksonville Jaguars – Jacksonville has the ability to score with just about any team on offense. Their problem last year was that it was difficult for them to stop teams defensively. Makes since as to why they spent the money they did in free agency. That trend won’t stop come draft time. Worley is a physical corner who can play press coverage and get vertical with receivers. His skill set would add much needed depth in a secondary that has to see DeAndre Hopkins twice a year.
Players to watch for in later rounds– Nick O’Toole and Marquise Lucas