According to various online sources, five Mountaineer players have signed rookie free agent deals with NFL teams so far. They are:
Joe Madsen, C, Pittsburgh Steelers
J.D. Woods, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jeff Braun, OL, Baltimore Ravens
Josh Jenkins, OL, Seattle Seahawks
Shawne Alston, RB, New Orleans Saints
Of the five, it appeared Madsen was the most likely to get drafted with some projecting him as a sixth or seventh round pick. The Chardon, Ohio resident was a four-year starter for the Mountaineers and the only two games he missed during his career were bowl games – the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl his sophomore year and the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl his senior year. According to Ourlads Scouting Service, Madsen had “the quickest and most accurate shotgun snap in this year’s draft.”
Braun, from Westminster, Md., and Jenkins, from Parkersburg, were also multiple-year starters on a Mountaineer offensive line that enabled West Virginia to finish ninth in the country in scoring, 10th in passing offense and 10th in total offense.
Woods, from Naples, Fla., was the team’s No. 3 receiver in 2012, appearing in 39 career games with 12 starts. Woods caught 61 passes for 637 yards and four touchdowns during his senior season to rank 10th in the Big 12 with an average of 4.7 receptions per game. His best game was a 13-catch, 114-yard performance in West Virginia’s 70-63 victory over Baylor last September.
Alston, from Virginia Beach, Va., was West Virginia’s most dependable short-yardage back who scored two or more rushing touchdowns seven times and contributed 19 rushing touchdowns in his last 19 games for the Mountaineers. He produced a career-high 130 yards on the ground in West Virginia’s 31-24 win at Iowa State and ended his career with 1,068 yards rushing.
Other WVU players who could sign rookie free agent deals in the coming days include: FB Ryan Clarke, LB Josh Francis, LB Terence Garvin, CB Pat Miller, DE Jorge Wright, P Corey Smith and PK Tyler Bitancurt.
West Virginia has had success with rookie free agents securing spots on NFL rosters in recent years. Offensive tackle Don Barclay (Green Bay), return specialist Darius Reynaud (Tennessee) and fullback Corey McIntyre (Buffalo) are three current free-agent success stories.
Previously, wide receiver Tavon Austin was selected in the first round by the St. Louis Rams (eight overall pick), quarterback Geno Smith went early in the second round to the New York Jets and wide receiver Stedman Bailey is joining Austin in St. Louis as a third-round choice.West Virginia’s NFL Draft Picks Since 2000
2013, Tavon Austin, WR (1st) St. Louis Rams
2013, Geno Smith, QB (2nd) New York Jets
2013, Stedman Bailey, WR (3rd) St. Louis Rams
2012, Bruce Irvin, DE (1st) Seattle Seahawks
2012, Najee Goode, LB (5th) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2012, Keith Tandy, CB (6th) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2011, Brandon Hogan, CB (3rd) Carolina Panthers
2011, Robert Sands, S (5th) Cincinnati Bengals
2011, J.T. Thomas, LB (6th) Chicago Bears
2011, Chris Neild, NT (7th) Washington Redskins
2010, Selvish Capers, T (7th) Washington Redskins
2009, Pat White, QB (2nd) Miami Dolphins
2009, Ellis Lankster, CB (7th) Buffalo Bills
2009, Pat McAfee, P (7th) Indianapolis Colts
2008, Steve Slaton, RB (3rd) Houston Texans
2008, Owen Schmitt, FB (5th) Seattle Seahawks
2008, Ryan Mundy, S (6th) Pittsburgh Steelers
2006, Dee McCann, S (6th) Detroit Lions
2005, Pacman Jones, CB (1st) Tennessee Titans
2005, Chris Henry, WR (3rd) Cincinnati Bengals
2005, Rasheed Marshall, WR (5th) San Francisco 49ers
2004, Quincy Wilson, RB (7th) Atlanta Falcons
2003, Lance Nimmo, T (4th) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2003, James Davis, LB (5th) Detroit Lions
2000, Anthony Becht, TE (1st) New York Jets
2000, Jerry Porter, WR (2nd) Oakland Raiders
2000, Barrett Green, LB (2nd) Detroit Lions
2000, Marc Bulger, QB (6th) New Orleans Saints