NFL Draft: WVU Style

The Mountaineers have produced a lot of pro talent throughout the years including; Marc Bulger, Chris Henry (R.I.P.) and everyone's favorite Adam "Pacman" Jones, to name a few.  While most players from WVU flourish in college, they can never seem to take their skills to the next level and therefore end up in the United Football League (UFL) or the Canadian Football League (CFL).

Out of all the draft classes from WVU in recent memory none seems more complete than this years.  Players include; defensive end Bruce Irvin, defensive end Julian Miller, cornerback Keith Tandy and inside linebacker Najee Goode.  There are many teams in the NFL who could use these players, the only question is will they be able to rise to the pro level or fall like so many before them.

Player Analysis:

Bruce Irvin-Defensive End

Bio: Irvin dominated for two seasons at West Virginia; sacking quarterbacks, stopping running backs in their tracks and forcing fumbles when given the chance.  During his time as a Mountaineer Irvin racked up a total of 61 tackles, 22 sacks and two forced fumbles.  In 2010 Irvin finished second in the season with 14 sacks only behind Da’Quan Bowers from Clemson who had 16 sacks.

Combine Results: Irvin surprised many with his combine results earlier this year, shattering many 40 yard dash times of more well-known players.  He ran his 40 in 4.5 seconds, did 23 reps of 225 lbs. and jumped a ridiculous 10’3’’ in the broad jump.  It should also be noted that he entered the combine as an outside linebacker and that defensive end is a second option for him.

On a more personal note Irvin was also arrested in late March due to the fact that he punched a Jimmy John's sign, which could have deterred some potential teams away from him, but other than that one incident his record is spotless.

Teams that could use him:

Chicago Bears: With players like Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher getting up there in age, Irvin would be a great fit to ease into one of these roles.  While he may not have the size of Urlacher, he definitely makes up for it in speed.  Being able to be quick off the ball is a huge advantage especially if Irvin wants to continue to make some serious hits on the quarterback.  Plus he would be reunited with former Mountaineers J.T. Thomas.

Seattle Seahawks: This is a team that could use a lot of help defensively.  Many of their players are old and slowing down. The Seahawks are a team on the rise and they could use Irvin’s skills.  Luckily, for Irvin he can be both an inside linebacker and a defensive end which are two areas the Seahawks need to focus on.  While they did come away with 33 sacks and 13 forced fumbles, Irvin could definitely help increase those stats and strike fear into any opposing QB.

Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals' defense did have a pretty good season last year racking up 41 sacks and 12 forced fumbles.  While it may not seem like Irvin can do much good here, doesn’t mean he won’t get a chance.  Inside linebacker Paris Lenon recorded 64 tackles and 3 sacks at the ripe age of 34.  So the Cardinals could possibly be looking for a replacement for him and the answer could be Irvin.

Projected Round: Early to mid 2nd

Julian Miller-Defensive End

Bio: Unlike Bruce Irvin, Julian Miller spent four years as a Mountaineer and during that time he amassed incredible stats.  Miller recorded a total of 185 tackles, 21.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.  Miller currently ranks 4th on WVU's career sack list as well as 5th on WVU's career tackles for a loss with 31.5. 

Pro Day Results: Miller was not invited to the Combine, but he did participate in Pro Day Workouts.  During Pro Day he ran a 4.86 40 yard dash, lifted 225 lbs. 19 times and had a vertical jump of 33 inches. 

Teams that could use him:

Kansas City Chiefs: This is a team that has some okay defensive ends, but no one really solid.  Of course, Glen Dorsey has to be named in this conversation since he is one of the more memorable defensive players on the Chiefs.  During his time on the Chiefs he has recorded 231 tackles and only four sacks.  By bringing in Miller this could create some competition for Dorsey to step his game up.

San Francisco 49ers: While this team doesn't use a defensive end, but Miller could still be used as a defensive tackle or possibly an outside linebacker.  In the defensive tackle position Miller would likely be the replacement for 11 year veteran Justin Smith.  Smith recorded 7.5 sacks which ranked him second on the team.  Even though this is impressive Smith is getting old and Miller could be a perfect fit.  While he may not be a starter if he goes for outside linebacker he could certainly compete for a spot.  He would most likely have to compete with players such as Larry Grant and Parys Haralson.

Jacksonville Jaguars: This teams needs help with everything; unfortunately for them most players only play one position.  Luckily for Miller he can play both defensive end and inside linebacker.  The Jaguars recorded 31 sacks and 19 forced fumbles last year and if they get Miller he could be quite beneficial to them.  Miller would more than likely be a replacement for Aaron Kampman who has been around for 10 years and did not play last season.  If Kampman’s career is over then Miller could have a better chance of starting and contributing heavily on a defense that has struggled many times over the years.

Projected Round: Late 4th to early 5th

Keith Tandy-Cornerback

Bio: Tandy also attended West Virginia for four years and during that time showed what a smaller corner can do against taller wide receivers.  During his time as a Mountaineer Tandy recorded a total of 13 interceptions, 188 tackles and 121 all-purpose yards.  While he did not play every single game in 2008, Tandy still made an impact from 2009-2011.

Pro Day Results: Tandy was also not invited to the Combine, but he too competed in WVU's Pro Day.  During which he ran the 40 yard dash in 4.51 seconds, lifted 225 lbs. 16 times and jumped 33 inched on the vertical jump.

Teams that could use him:

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings are in desperate need of either a shutdown corner or a corner who can at least keep pace with a receiver.  The latter referring to Tandy while he may not shutdown receivers, he can keep pace with them and keep them from breaking off huge chunks off yardage.  The Vikings defense only came away with nine interceptions last season and if they decide to draft Tandy that number could quickly jump up.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins do have a bunch of young talent at cornerback, but none of them seem to be at the same skill level as Tandy.  Miami's secondary gave up 249.5 yards a game through the air giving them a rank of 25th in the league.  With Tandy and Vontae Davis cover some of the top players in the league, this number could decrease dramatically.  The Dolphins also only came away with 16 interceptions and they could definitely use Tandy’s help in increasing this number.

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons are another team that has pretty good corners, but they could always use backups and replacements.  The most likely scenario for Tandy here would be a backup and then once Dunta Robinson leaves or retires then Tandy could start to see some action.  The Falcons came away with 19 interceptions last season and if Tandy gets his chance he could very well expand on that stat.  It should also be noted that Tandy stands at 5’10’’ and most of the corners on Atlanta are around the same height, so this could be a perfect fit for him.

Projected Round: Mid 3rd to Mid 4th

Najee Goode-Inside Linebacker

Bio: Goode is yet another player who was a Mountaineer for four years, even though he red-shirted his freshman year back in 2007.  While at West Virginia Goode compiled a bunch of good stats including; 157 tackles, 8 sacks, and two interceptions.  Even though these stats may not be that impressive, Goode still made a huge impact on the field.

Combine Results: Goode was the only other Mountaineer besides Bruce Irvin to be invited to the combine.  Goode recorded a 4.64 on his 40 yard dash, 35 ½ on his vertical jump and 09’09’’ on his broad jump.  While these aren’t that impressive, Goode is still a quality player and should not be shunned just because of a bad performance on one day of events.  Goode also participated in WVU’s Pro Day in which he only did the 20 yard shuttle which he completed in 4.35 seconds.

Teams that could draft him:

Washington Redskins: The Redskins are another team who is on the rise and their defense has been solid for the past few years.  Now that’s not to say there could be some improvements, mainly being able to backup Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher and Ryan Kerrigan.  With Rocky McIntosh possibly leaving and the other linebackers not being able to fill the void, this could be a good fit for Goode.  Even though he wouldn’t be starting he could learn from two of the best linebackers on the team and even in the NFC.  In some cases, Goode has been compared to Fletcher, in how they play.  So could that mean that Goode would be the best bet to fill in when Fletcher retires?

Denver Broncos: The Broncos are a team with a young linebacker corp., but that doesn't mean they couldn't use more help.  Even though Broncos came away with 41 sacks last year, they only came up with 9 interceptions.  This is an area that Goode could help them improve upon.  Goode would probably also get the upper hand on linebackers such as Cyril Obiozer and Nate Irving.  With D.J. Williams getting up there in age the Broncos could be looking for a replacement.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers had a very disappointing season on defense last year by recording only 23 sacks and 14 interceptions.  Goode could definitely help them improve these two areas by showing the defense how to sack properly and how to pick off passes.  Even though the linebackers are young too, they could definitely use some motivation to make them better.  With Adam Hayward getting up there in age, the Bucs could be looking at a replacement for him.

Projected Round: Mid 4th to Mid 5th

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