NFL Draft: AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
WR Kevin White, SR #11 (6’3, 211, 4.40)
Scouting report – Might be the most improved player in college football this year. White went from a draft long shot to a first round lock in just one season. After a 35 catch, 507 yard junior season, White exploded with 102 catches for 1,318 yards and 9 TDs. White isn’t a burner, but he consistently displayed the ability to win 1-1 coverage battles. He tracks the ball naturally, times his impressive vertical leaps very well, attacks the ball aggressively, and has good hands that are strong enough to wrench the ball away from opposing DBs. His bread and butter plays were go routes and back shoulder fades, so he could have a major impact as a rookie if he lands on a team that favors those routes. White doesn’t show much ability to get separation on underneath routes and isn’t a crisp route runner, but he can use his power to do some damage after the catch on screens and quick slants. He needs some polish on most of the route tree, but could be a weapon immediately in the red zone.
Projection: 1st round
SS Karl Joseph, JR #8 (5’10, 200, 4.63)
Scouting report – Team captain who has started for the Mountaineers since his freshmen year. Joseph is a very physical safety who is always around the ball and shows no fear taking on bigger opponents. He’s been a big hitter since he stepped on the field and has forced more fumbles than anyone on the team over the last three seasons. His coverage skills are just decent, but have improved every year. Joseph can make a impact right away as a run stopper and if his coverage skills keep improving, he could be an all-pro safety.
NFL comparison – D.J. Swearinger
Projection: 3rd round
DE Shaquille Riddick, SR #4 (6’5, 242, 4.72)
Scouting report – Athletic pass rusher who dominated at the FCS level before transferring to West Virginia for his final year of eligibility. Riddick flashed potential at times this year like in his 3 sack game vs Baylor, but also disappeared for long stretches. He has a quick first step, a non-stop motor, good instincts, and decent hand skills, but at times was just overpowered by stronger O-lineman. It’s not going to get any easier in the pros, but Riddick could conceivably earn a spot in a 3-4 as a pass rush OLB or a LEO backer.
Projection: 5th-7th round
G Quentin Spain, SR #67 (6’4, 332, 5.36)
Scouting report – Has NFL size and occasionally uses it to maul defenders in the run game, but his technique is inconsistent and usually sloppy. Has enough athleticism that some team could take a chance on his potential with a day 3 pick, but Spain needs a lot of work before he can contribute at the next level. If he ends up with a good O-line coach he could eventually develop into a starting guard.
Projection: 7th round – UFA