All 32 NFL teams were represented, including Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, in Morgantown, WV to watch former West Virginia football players take part in their annual Pro Day. Among the former Mountaineers working out were Wendell Smallwood, K.J. Dillon, Nick Kwiatkowski, Daryl Worley and Karl Joseph.
One of the standouts from the day had to have been K.J. Dillon in his position drills. He showed tremendous footwork and agility in coverage drills getting in and out of his cuts smoothly. He also made a couple of tough catches on the run, one on a deep ball and one that was thrown away from his body on a dead sprint. After his solid Senior Bowl and NFL Combine performance, Dillon saw himself sitting at number five on Mike Mayock’s list of safeties. With the Pro Day that he had, Dillon solidified that position.
The most interesting event of the day was watching linebackers Jared Barber and Shaq Petteway partake in running back drills. The move could be smart for both players in showing off their versatility and willingness to do whatever it takes to make an NFL roster.
A highlight of the day was seeing Karl Joseph again. Joseph was only able to participate in the bench press, where he recorded 19 reps, while he still recovers from his torn ACL. Although he could not do any drills, he was still seen talking with Mike Tomlin for a good duration of time. Despite the injury Joseph is number two on Mayock’s list of safeties but the knee will likely still be a concern when teams look at drafting him.
Two players that improved on their 40-yard dash times from the combine were Wendell Smallwood and Daryl Worley. Smallwood went from a 4.47 to a 4.37, according to some scouts. Worley went from a 4.64 to somewhere in-between 4.48-4.50, again according to scouts. Both players improving on their times could help their draft stock somewhat. In a league where speed is valued at plenty of positions, showing any improvement in a 40 time will help.
At the end of the day, Pro Day is about solidifying times and numbers from players invited to the combine or could allow some players to catch the eye of scouts when they try to add players to the practice squad or special teams. Realistically WVU should have about four to five players selected in the upcoming draft and the rest will have to patiently wait for a call after the draft is concluded.
The 2016 NFL Draft will run from Apr. 28-30 in Chicago, Illinois.