Sneak NFL Draft Preview

With three WVU senior participating in this weekend's Rotary Gridiron classic (but none in the Senior Bowl), we thought we'd take a peek at how Mountaineer football seniors might fare in the coming NFL draft.

For expert help, we turned to Anthony Pauline of network. Pauline, who heads up TFY Draft Preview, provides some insight on the top candidates in WVU's senior class.

Rick Sherrod has garnered a great deal of attention for leading the nation in tackles, but those numbers haven't impressed many NFL scouts. Sherrod's run support is praised, but his pass defense skills are being questioned, as is his side to side mobility.

Shawn Hackett also gained notice after his junior season, but in the pros' eyes he never took the next step in terms of improvement during his senior year. Hackett is a fierce hitter and competitor, but he probably doesn't have the pass coverage skills to play safety, and his size hurts him in competing for a linebacker position.

Antwan Lake has gotten the most notice. The NFL projects him as a defensive end after he finished his career at defensive tackle for WVU.

Lake was highly ranked coming into the 2000 season, but obviously his injury set him back. He did the smart thing by returning in 2001 as a prop 48 player. He could be a mid to late round pick.

Antonio Brown's height is the major factor working against him, of course. He cathces the ball well enough and has the speed, but questions about his contact avoidance will also hurt him in the eyes of the scouts.

Several other Mountaineers, including Richard Bryant, Kyle Kayden and Brad Knell, could get free agent looks, but many of those determinations wont be made until after the combines and on-campus testing sessions.

The end result is that it looks like a down draft year for West Virginia. One or two draft picks, plus some free agent looks, figure to to be the story for 2002.

Bryant, Kayden and Brown will be playing in the Roatary Gridiron Classic on Saturday, January 26 at 2:00 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

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