Lack of NFL Draft Picks A Good Sign?

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Perhaps we’ve been asking the wrong question about West Virginia football since last season closed with a loud thud in the defeat by Minnesota in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

To begin with, most everyone was thinking the bowl had the wrong name, and, at least from WVU’s point of view, it should have been the Guaranteed Loss Bowl.

After it ended, WVU’s third season under Neal Brown showed a 6-7 record and everyone was asking why it was so bad. Perhaps they should have been asking how it could have been so good.

Most fans were looking toward the coaching. Even Neal Brown was looking at the coaching, for it didn’t take him long to bring in Graham Harrell to conceive of a way to ensure the ‘O’ in offense didn’t stand for zero.

But was it really coaching … or was it a lack of talent?

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That’s a question that has to be asked after nary a single Mountaineer was taken in the NFL draft for the first time since 2007.

Or was it a signal of some kind that Brown might be sitting on powder keg of talent, but talent not yet eligible to enter the NFL draft?

The 2006 team was a powerhouse for Rich Rodriguez, a team with two 1,000-yard rushers in Pat White and Steve Slaton, a team that rose to No. 3 in the nation after winning its first seven games, a team that would finish 11-2 … and then.

In 2007 there were true national championship expectations that carried into the final game of the regular season, another December day that would live in infamy as Pitt stunned the Mountaineers at home as 28.5-point underdogs, costing them a shot at Ohio State for the title.

So, the fact that no player is drafted may be a good sign, at least coming off as good a season as WVU had in 2006.

Was last year really more a sign that Dana Holgorsen had cleaned out the cupboard to the point that, combined with the Covid season of 2020, finding and developing talent became something more than just filling in the blanks but more like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle with a third of the pieces missing?

Without a NFL ready senior or junior, with a quarterback who simply was not near championship level, finishing 6-7 well may be looked upon as a sign that progress was being made but that the Mountaineers simply weren’t physically about to match the better teams in its league.

Of course, it could be argued that this came in a down year of Big 12 football, a year in which a conference that had produced a string of Heisman Trophy candidate quarterbacks  not only had no such creature anywhere in sight, but had not a single player selected in the first round of the draft.

In fact, as the draft came to an end on Saturday with the selection of Mr. Irrelevant, what showed up was that the power structure of football boiled down to the SEC and the Four Dwarfs, of which the Big 12 was the runt of the litter.

In the draft, the SEC had 68 players selected and the Big Ten 46 while the Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC combined to have 75 players drafted.

Make no doubt that the power structure in college football is top-heavy and with Oklahoma, which had six of the Big 12’s 24 players picked, it certainly figures to be more off kilter when the Sooners depart the league.

What we’re saying is, this isn’t about Leddie Brown, the only Mountaineer off last year’s team that had a possibility of being drafted. We’re saying this is all about the NCAA fixing itself before in self-destructs.

But, if we could return to just the Mountaineers and their future for a moment coming out of a year with a losing record and not so much as a sniff in the NFL draft, the indications from all of this is that things may be on the upswing. The quarterback situation seemingly is to be fixed with some depth, the offense with a talented young driver at the controls in Harrell and certain NFL prospects in center Zach Frazier and defensive tackle Dante Stills, along with some receivers who may fit the NFL mold and will be shown off far better in the new offense than they had been.

Is this the Pat White/Steve Slaton team all over again in the making? No one would be so bold as to see that in this, but with Oklahoma and Texas looking to flee the conference, with Gary Patterson and Lincoln Riley already out of it coaching ranks, the artillery being thrown at WVU the in the near future may not be lethal as they have been facing.

So, rather than bemoan yesterday, note that there are reasons to believe that WVU football may be ready to rise again.

Home Page forums Lack of NFL Draft Picks A Good Sign?

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  • #181338

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Perhaps we’ve been asking the wrong question about West Virginia football since last season closed with a loud thud in the defeat
    [See the full post at: Lack of NFL Draft Picks A Good Sign?]

    #181387

    Means we were very young in 2021 and it’s taken Brown time to restock that bare cupboard. With better QB play and a few less bonehead plays like bad snaps, false starts and dropped punts WVU would have won 8-9 games and had a better showing in the bowl game. If the OL which will only have 1 senior starter keeps taking steps forward and JT can stay upright for 13-14 games WVU should have a good to very good 2022. The Big 12 is wide open with Caleb Williams, Rattler, Purdy and Skylar Thompson gone as well as Riley and Patterson. Ok State has Sanders back but lost 8 starters on D and their coordinator and TT has a new coach as well. Baylor also lost quite a few starters as well so this is Brown’s best chance in Year 4 to make some real noise and he needs to do it.

    #181389

    Bob conveniently overlooked Neal Brown having the worst start at WVU in 40 years. That’s not an anomaly. That’s a pattern you don’t want. Fix the coaching staff problem (Harrell is a move in the right direction) and the rest might take care of itself. WVU won 7 or more games 5 seasons in a row before Neal Brown showed up. WVU went 11 years in a row with 7 or more W’s a season under Rich, Bill and Dana. Then Neal Brown showed up. WVU HAD a history of winning football. Then Neal Brown showed up. You want to make Neal Brown innocent in all of this go to Disneyland for your fantasies! Show ME on the field and I’ll cheer my heart out for my alma mater, as I always do. I hate it when WVU loses a game. Even worse when WVU has losing or average seasons. Don’t you. Excuses don’t cut it.

    #181412

    Didn’t bother to read it. Of course it’s not a good thing. What a preposterous article.

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Home Page forums Lack of NFL Draft Picks A Good Sign?

Home Page forums Lack of NFL Draft Picks A Good Sign?