MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Six West Virginia players were invited to this year's Senior Bowl and NFL scouting combination, and everyone is expected to hear their name mentioned in this weekend's NFL draw. If all six are taken, it will set the school record set in 1999 for most mountain climbers set up in one year since the draft fell to seven laps in 1994.
Here is an overview of each player, including where the experts think they can be picked.
Will Grier is one of the most productive quarterbacks in West Virginia history with just two seasons as a starter. He is in 3rd place in the program history with 7,354 passing yards and second with 71 touchdown passes. Grier finished fourth in the 2018 Heisman Trophy vote, the best show for a mountaineer since Steve Slaton in 2006.
Grier was transferred to West Virginia from Florida, where he started five competitions as a first-year student of a redshirt for his suspension to test positive for an over-the-counter performance-enhancing substance. Not being welcomed by Gators coach Jim McElwain, he joined the WVU and was a year late due to the transfer rules of the NCAA.
Grier hit a speed of 59 mph on the NFL Combine, which tied Boise State & Brett Rypien for the fastest figure in this year's class.
NFL.com projection: Rounds 3-4
A two-year starter on the left, Cajuste is perhaps the first mountain climber to get off the shelf after Grier.
Cajuste was injured by knee injury early in his career and missed most of the 2015 and 2016 seasons. With that in mind, it was no surprise that Cajuste turned off the Camping World Bowl this year to focus on the concept.
Injury concerns limited Cajuste of doing exercises on the combine or pro day, but he has done 32 repetitions in the bench press.
NFL Network analyst and former Redskins GM Charley Casserly is optimistic about Cajuste.
"As a run-blocker, he's a physical guy. He slaps you in the mouth," Casserly said. "To me, he's a second choice. If he doesn't handle it, you can try him at the guard. & # 39;
NFL.com projection: Rounds 3-5
Recruited by Notre Dame to play defensively, Jennings believed that his future was as a broad receiver and chose West Virginia. That decision has since paid off.
Jennings is in sixth place on WVU & # 39; s list with 2,294 receiving yards. As a junior, he had the strange distinction of scoring just one touchdown on 97 catches. He found the end zone thirteen times as a senior, including an iconic last-minute grab in the back of the end zone in the West Virginia 42-41 Texas victory.
Jennings had one of the better overall performances in the combination between receivers. He ran a 4.42 in the 40's, completed the 20-yard cone drill in 4.15 seconds and did 20 reps in the benchpress. Jennings also scored as one of the fastest players in the Senior Bowl despite being a late invitation to the event.
NFL.com projection: Rounds 3-4
The story of Sills becomes as well known as that of Paul Bunyan. Offer a scholarship to play quarterback at USC when he was 13, he ended up in West Virginia and moved to a broad receiver. After a year at junior school to give quarterback another chance, he returned to WVU and became one of the most productive widths in program history.
A dual fully American, Sills was also a Biletnikoff Award finalist his junior year. His 35 catches before landing the career are the second in the history of the school for Stedman Bailey.
Sills had the eighth-best time between receivers at the combine in the 3-cone drill, and completed it in 6.97 seconds. He ran a 4.57 in the 40-yard dashboard and had a 37.5-inch vertical jump.
NFL.com projection: Rounds 4-5
Because of its size, the Big 12 defender of the year might have been forced to change positions or bring his career to Canada if he entered the design just ten years ago. Instead, the 5-foot-10, 223-pound linebacker is blessed with the speed needed to play its position in a more pass-happy era.
The red season for juniors was long completed with 111 tackles, including 19 tackles for loss and eight pockets before he announced the draft.
Lange sprained his ankle in the Senior Bowl and did not walk to the combine or his pro-day. That may cost him in the draft, but at least one scout may like him more than the supposed first-rounder Devin Bush of Michigan.
"Personally, I'd rather have David Long than Devin Bush for a couple or two discount promotions," a division head told NFL.com. "They are about the same size, but Long is more productive and perhaps less vulnerable to injuries."
NFL.com projection: Round 4
Wesco, a native of Martinsburg who was present at Musselman High, has disappeared from not being on WVU & # 39; s radar to get attention from the NFL.
Although he was in the state, he had to start his college career at Lackawanna Junior College to be noticed by the Mountaineers. Wesco placed extremely modest numbers in its first two seasons – one every year – before it exploded as a senior. Wesco became the most targeted WVU stop in decades and ended with 26 catches from 366 yards.
Wesco worked as a wing defender and a tight end to the Senior Bowl. He showed his strength to the combine and led his position with 24 bench press repetitions. Other tight targets have a speed advantage on Wesco, which recorded a time of 4.89 in the 40s. Scouts were impressed by his hands after his pro-day. A team looking for a tight tight end with a chance to grow into something more could be well served to use a late harvest on Wesco.
NFL.com projection: Rounds 4-6