Only two Mountaineers heard their name called at the 2017 NFL Draft over the weekend, but a handful of undrafted WVU football players signed on with teams as free agents.
Center Tyler Orlosky was probably the biggest surprise at the draft to not hear his name called, but was scooped up rather quickly after the fact. Senior NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler pegged Orlosky as a top-5 player available.
Rasul Douglas and Shelton Gibson were chosen by the Eagles in the third and fifth rounds, respectively, and will be joined by Orlosky in Philadelphia after he agreed to a free agent deal with the team.
The Eagles drafted Wendell Smallwood last year and currently employ Najee Goode as well, forming a nice duo of former Mountaineers the rookies can look to for guidance.
Quarterback Skyler Howard is another former ‘Eer who signed as an undrafted free agent. He inked a deal with Seattle, where he’ll get to learn from his role model Russell Wilson.
Also joining Brown in Pittsburgh will be Rushel Shell per Steelers.com, but he won’t be the only running back from the draft headed to the Steel City; the Steelers drafted University of Pittsburgh running back James Conner in the third round.
Defensive back Maurice Fleming was signed by the Buccaneers after the draft, who former ‘Eers Charles Sims and Keith Tandy collect checks from. Having another Mountaineer in the film room in Tandy will be important in Fleming’s adjustment and development to the speed of the league.
Another WVU football player heading to a team with an established Mountaineer presence will be guard Adam Pankey. Don Barclay and Pankey were never teammates in Morgantown, but getting Mountaineers together usually spells trouble for opponents.
And finally, the Buffalo Bills signed a pair of Mountaineers in wide receiver Daikiel Shorts and safety Jeremy Tyler. That’s 12 players from West Virginia landing on a NFL roster. That’s incredible! And teams that already have somebody from WVU tend to continue giving Mountaineers opportunites, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, for example.
The overall showing at the NFL Draft is a positive one for WVU football and should encourage Mountaineer fans. But just imagine if the NFL could get it right and pick these guys during the draft?