The third day of the 2013 NFL Draft came and went with no West Virginia Mountaineers being selected in the final four rounds. But the draft is only the first pass at college prospects. As soon as Mr. Irrelevant is announced, NFL franchises are free to sign undrafted players.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and coach Mike Tomlin moved quickly to snatch up a couple of former Mountaineers stars in center Joe Madsen and wide receiver J.D. Woods. Both players come to a Steelers team that is in desperate need of depth at both positions.
Woods will be competing for one of the vacant wide receiver spots left by the departed Mike Wallace. It will certainly be an uphill battle for Woods who will likely need to beat out at least one of the two wide receivers drafted by the Steelers: Markus Wheaton of Oregon State or Justin Brown of Oklahoma. For Woods to really impress the Steelers brass, he will have to excel in special teams situations, a place where the Steelers routinely groom their developmental players.
Joe Madsen has the potential to back-up the perennial Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey. Pittsburgh puts a premium on versatile interior lineman that can excel at both center and guard. The Steelers coaching staff saw how well Madsen played in the shotgun and pistol formations but will be looking to see how fast Madsen can get off the ball when providing a direct snap to the quarterback. He might also need to polish up on his pulling technique, something the Steelers will be doing more of with the addition of Le’Veon Bell.
Madsen and Woods will get their shots to stick around and will look to follow in the footsteps of former Mountaineer and current Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Will Johnson.