2020 NFL Draft Preview: McKivitz leads the way for the Mountaineers

WVU Football

One of the biggest nights of the NFL offseason is upon us as hundreds of former college football players will get their names called to kick off an opportunity at a professional career.

West Virginia has had considerable success at the NFL Draft in recent years. Last season, five former Mountaineers had their names called, adding to the total of 17 Mountaineers drafted since 2015 — the second-highest total in the Big 12 in that span.

Here are the Mountaineers who are awaiting a call this weekend:

Colton McKivitz, offensive tackle

  • Height: 6′ 6″
  • Weight: 306 lbs
  • Combine stats: 20 bench press reps, 5.35 40-yard dash
  • Projected round: 6-7

The lone Mountaineer to receive an invitation to the NFL Combine, McKivitz received considerable attention ahead of his senior year. For the most part, he seemed to live up to the hype despite his team’s struggles on the field.

McKivitz earned an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and turned heads on the first day of practice. He was given the second-highest grade on his team by Pro Football Focus in that span, but his stock seemed to take a bit of a hit as he went up against some of the nation’s top pass rushers.

McKivitz is praised for his mentality, tagged by NFL.com analyst Lance Zuerlein as a “bonafide dirt dog with a chippy demeanor.” Having started all four years for the Mountaineers, he also attained a degree of versatility on the offensive line, spending time at both tackle positions. He is also praised for his strength and range.

In order to establish himself as an offensive lineman in the NFL, though, experts say McKivitz will need to get better at moving defenders while making up for his shorter arm length.

Keith Washington, cornerback

  • Height: 6′ 1″
  • Weight: 180 lbs
  • 2019 stats: 4 INT, 23 TKL, 9 PBU
  • Projected round: 6-7/UDFA

Washington caught the attention of several NFL scouts after totaling a trio of interceptions for West Virginia as a junior. Unfortunately, he was unable to add to those stats as a senior, again tallying 3 picks — but his plays always seemed to come at opportune times for the Mountaineers.

Without a combine invite or pro day, Washington struggled to generate attention for himself ahead of the draft. He was able to hold his own pro day, running an unofficial 4.38-second 40-yard dash (which would have been the fifth-fastest time at the NFL Combine) and an unofficial 3.94-second 20-yard shuttle (which would have been the fastest at the combine).

Standing just over six feet tall, Washington measures in slightly taller than the average NFL cornerback, who stands just under six feet. However, his smaller frame may require him to fill out a bit if he wants to make a roster.

Washington may hear his name called late on day three or get an opportunity as an undrafted free agent.

Kennedy McKoy, running back

  • Height: 6′ 0″
  • Weight: 204
  • 2019 stats: 323 rush yds, 3 TDs, 167 rec yds, 1 TD
  • Projected: UDFA

Despite high expectations coming from both in and outside of Morgantown, McKoy’s role for the Mountaineers gradually lessened through his senior year. He entered the 2019 season as a starter, only to eventually give that role up to redshirt freshman Leddie Brown.

McKoy provided value as a back for the Mountaineers. As the team struggled to get the ball moving on the ground no matter who carried it, the North Carolina native tallied 323 yards and 3 touchdowns in his final year.

Looking back on his career, though, McKoy was a workhorse for all four years. His 2,147 rushing yards ranks him 18th all-time in program history, and his 22 touchdowns on the ground are the eighth most among all Mountaineers.

Unfortunately for McKoy, the question posed by NFL general managers becomes, “What have you done for me lately?” With a down year to end his college career and without a combine invite, it seems very unlikely McKoy will hear his name called in the NFL Draft.

George Campbell, wide receiver

  • Height: 6′ 4″
  • Weight: 183 lbs
  • 2019 stats: 19 rec, 469 rec yds, 7 TDs
  • Projected: UDFA

The Mountaineers got just one year out of George Campbell, but it probably could not have gone much better. He scored West Virginia’s first touchdown of the season, one of seven on the year for the senior in his most productive year of college football.

As good as his season may have been, it was not quite good enough for an invitation to the NFL Combine. He could have kept it going with the Mountaineers, according to a report from 247Sports’s Mike Casazza, but instead, he is taking his shot at the NFL.

To get a feeling for his true potential, one has to look at his time before West Virginia. A five-star recruit out of high school in the class of 2015, Campbell was praised for having a plethora of talent — albeit raw talent — which caught the eye of Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher. He would begin his career as a Seminole, but injuries would keep him off the field for much of his career, allowing him to amass just 206 receiving yards in three seasons.

Campbell seemed to get back on track after the move to Morgantown, but it still wasn’t enough to catch the attention of pro scouts like he did Fisher’s in 2015.

Even if he doesn’t get a phone call during the draft, it’s not out of the question that Campbell would get a shot as an undrafted free agent.

Some more Mountaineers to keep an eye on:

  • Kenny Robinson, safety: The only former Mountaineer to already have some experience in pro football, Robinson took an unconventional route to the NFL, making an attempt at the XFL during its inaugural 2020 season — and he didn’t disappoint. In five games, he snagged 2 interceptions and logged 15 tackles as he was set to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. As the XFL’s season was cut short, he opted to take a try at it this year, and could be one of the top sleepers in this year’s pool. Described as “pro-ready,” it’s very conceivable that a team could give him a call in the later rounds — but his lack of a combine showing and shortened XFL rookie season leave a lot of question marks.
  • Josh Norwood, safety: Norwood came up big for the Mountaineers, ending his career with arguably the biggest highlight to come from it — a diving interception in an upset of Kansas State which unfortunately broke his collarbone. Having bounced from Ohio State to West Virginia, Norwood’s career reel is limited. Plus, his smaller frame severely limits his prospects for the pros, but definitely doesn’t rule him out.
  • Rex Sunahara, longsnapper: Longsnappers aren’t generally guys that get called on draft night, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have value. Sunahara established himself as a solid longsnapper for the Mountaineers, earning an invite to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl after being named a semifinalist for the Patrick Mannelly Award, which is given to the nation’s best longsnapper. Longsnappers are always in demand, so don’t be shocked if he gets a call.
  • Hakeem Bailey, cornerback: Like Norwood and Washington, Bailey seemed to come in clutch for the Mountaineers, but also like Norwood and Washington, his smaller frame hurts his draft stock. His knack for heavy-hitting and nose for the ball will likely prompt a front office to give him a call, but it likely won’t happen during the draft.

The 2020 NFL Draft gets underway at 8 p.m. on Thursday and will be broadcast on ESPN. Be sure to check back for updates on how the Mountaineers fare.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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