NFL Draft Could Be Historic For WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

NFL Draft Could Be Historic For WVU

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MORGANTOWN -

Thursday night could be a historic night for West Virginia University. Never before has the school produced more than one first round pick in a single draft.

Quarterback Geno Smith and Receiver Tavon Austin will both attend the draft and are already taking part in pre-draft activities sponsored by the NFL. The NFL only invites those players it anticipates going in the first round of the draft.

Smith and Austin set all kinds of records at WVU. That kind of production coupled with their performance at the NFL Combine and at WVU Pro Day has allowed them to be in position to be first round picks.

Smith and the entire quarterback class this season has been harshly scrutinized with some of the so-called experts wondering if any team would take a quarterback in the first round. There are also those experts who believe Smith is the best quarterback in the draft and may be a top-five or top-ten pick.

Austin on the other hand is getting rave reviews. Throughout every step of the process he has only enhanced his draft stock and is arguably one of the biggest movers up the various mock drafts that exist on the internet.

Austin plays well in today's NFL. He is a versatile, speedy and shifty player who avoids the big hit and is a threat to take it to the endzone from anywhere on the field.

Make no mistake draft night will be a big one for Smith and Austin. It will also be huge for the WVU football program. Commissioner Roger Goodell will read their names at some point with their positions followed by the words, "from West Virginia University." The camera will cut to Smith and/or Austin with WVU Head Coach Dana Holgorsen giving them congratulatory hugs.

As mentioned earlier, never before has WVU produced more than one first round pick in a single draft. Should that change Thursday night it will bring the total to three first round picks in the past two drafts. Bruce Irvin was the 15th overall selection by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012.

Here is a list of West Virginia's first round picks:

YEAR PLAYER TEAM
2012 Bruce Irvin Seattle Seahawks
2006 Adam Jones Tennessee Titans
2000 Anthony Becht New York Jets
1990 Renaldo Turnbull New Orleans Saints
1986 Brian Jozwiak Kansas City Chiefs
1966 Dick Leftridge Pittsburgh Steelers
1958 Chuck Howley Chicago Bears
1956 Joe Marconi Los Angeles Rams
1936 Joe Stydahar Chicago Bears

There have been just eight first round picks in school history. That group could grow by two and in doing so provide the first time WVU produced first round picks in consecutive years let alone multiple first round picks in the same draft.

The first round of the NFL Draft is expected to kickoff at 8 o'clock Thursday night.

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