They were two of the highlight performances from WVU players during Monday's Pro Day, held in the Caperton Indoor Practice facility. A veritable proving ground, Pro Day can nudge the needle either way, especially for players like Rose who did not get an invite to the combine. For others, like a surefire draftee in Smallwood, the event serves more as a second chance to make a big impression. Smallwood, the Big 12's leading rusher last season, ran a 4.47 40 during the combine, and was advised he need not run again.
"But I knew I could do better," he said. "I'm a competitor and I wanted to do better."
He did. The junior officially put down a 4.4 flat 40, as well as impressing in pass catching out of the backfield and showcasing his overall burst. The day did nothing but help the back, which has been in contact with a multitude of NFL franchises, and has additional meetings set-up in the coming week. The same was true for Rose, who played a variety of positions along WVU's defensive front before settling at nose. Rose said he would like to play a three technique at the next level, but obviously isn't in a position to dictate terms. Rose did, however, showcase some stamina and strength in the bench press, lifting the 225 pounds 25 times, and performed admirably in the shuttle drills.
In all, 15 Mountaineers took part in the session, along with three players from small colleges within the state. One who didn't was Karl Joseph, rated as among the top safeties in the draft. The senior was lost for the season with a right knee injury after the fourth game last year, and has spent the last six months rehabilitating the ACL and working to regain strength and mobility. Joseph is still highly rated on the draft board, but said he would like to give himself a bit more time before trying to showcase his return to form.
"Sometimes your mind tells you you can, and you body tells you you can't," he said. "I'll be ready by training camp, but it's been stressful. I am trying to control what I can control, and doing my best to get healthy. I want to come back better, stronger and faster."
Like Smallwood, Joseph has meetings through next week, and has been courted and grilled by dozens of teams. The former All-American spent portions of his rehab at the famed Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, led by Dr. James Andrews, and said that he is confident in the knee, and trusting it to hold up under lateral stress at this point. Still, Joseph isn't rushing the process, and he noted that patience was a primary lesson during the rehab.
"Right now, I'm just trying to enjoy the process," Joseph said. "(Teams) are still showing a lot of interest. I can't do a lot of things, so some of my evaluation has been my film. I'm starting to run full speed on it, but they don't want me running (on turf) yet."
In addition to the above, linebackers Jared Barber, Isaiah Bruce, Shaq Petteway, Edward Muldrow and Nick Kwiatkoski also participated, as well as defensive backs Terrell Chestnut, KJ Dillon and Daryl Worley. Long snapper John DePalma, linemen Eric Kinsey (defense) and Marquis Lucas (offense) and receivers KJ Myers and Jordan Thompson also worked in, while punter Nick O'Toole didn't run any drills, but did utilize the new practice fields for punt and kickoff duties.
Even more interviews, from the BlueGoldNews twitter account and Periscope: