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West Virginia Mountaineers in the NFL Roundup: Preseason Week 1

Terence Garvin took one to the house and Daikiel Shorts continues to do Daikiel Shorts things at the highest level

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The West Virginia Mountaineers have done a great job of getting their players to the next level. Right now, there are currently 30 former Mountaineers on a NFL roster. Before Week 2 of the NFL Preseason kicks off, take a look how how these former Mountaineers fared in Week 1 of the NFL preseason:

  • QB Geno Smith - New York Giants - 10/16, 114 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception and 2 carries for 5 yards.

Geno started off strong but had some bad moments shortly after. His one interception was an ugly one. I’m not sure if there was miscommunication with the wide receiver but there wasn’t a Giant anywhere in the vicinity of his pass. He also had an interception at the end of the first half but it was negated by a penalty on the defense. Even with the up-and-down performance, Smith is a strong bet to start the season as Eli Manning’s immediate backup.

Najee lived up to his last name and had a good game against the Packers. His biggest contribution was his play against the run. He totaled 21 snaps on defense and 11 on special teams.

Jones didn’t play a lot this game (six snaps) but he was certainly on display. The Buccaneers attacked Jones on back-to-back plays when they were only two yards away from the end zone. The guy they attacked him with was none other than 6’5 wide receiver Mike Evans. Yet, Jones held his own on both plays, forced the incomplete passes and the Buccaneers had to settle for a field goal. Was there possibly some pass interference by Jones on the 3rd and goal attempt? Maybe but the refs didn’t throw a flag so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  • WR Daikiel Shorts - Buffalo Bills - 4 receptions for 37 yards on 5 targets.

WVU’s 2016 reception leader showed well in this game. He didn’t see any targets until about halfway through the fourth quarter but he caught everything in his area and showed nice hands on a couple of occasions.

  • WR Shelton Gibson - Philadelphia Eagles - 2 receptions for 12 yards on 7 targets.

Numerous reports coming out of Philly say Gibson has struggled catching the ball during training camp. Unfortunately, it showed in this game. Gibson had a horrendous drop on a 3rd and 5 situation late in the fourth quarter. The ball couldn’t have been put in a better spot and he simply dropped it.

Gibson did have a DB beat on a deep route later on but quarterback Dane Evans hung the ball up too long an it was intercepted. If the Packers safety (Marwin Evans) decided to make a play on Gibson instead of the ball, he would have decapitated him.

  • WR/KR/PR Mario Alford - Cleveland Browns - 0 receptions on 1 target, 1 kick return for 19 yards and 1 punt return for 7 yards.

Alford only saw 11 offensive snaps and he’s buried on the wide receiver depth chart. If he’s going to make a NFL roster this year, the speedster will have to earn it on special teams.

White was basically non-existent in this game but at least he didn’t leave the game with an injury. If White can stay healthy and get the reps, maybe he can start to play looser and faster.

  • RB Charles Sims - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 3 carries for 23 yards

Sims didn’t play a lot but he looked solid in limited action. His 13-yard run was thing of beauty. He looked quick, shifty and made a few defenders miss. More importantly, he looked healthy. If you remember, Sims missed nine games last year with a knee and pectoral injury.

  • OL Don Barclay - Green Bay Packers - 12 snaps

Early in the game, Barclay injured his ankle and was forced to exit. He was carted to the locker room but it appears he avoided serious injury. It looked like he got his foot stuck in the ground as he went out to block a linebacker on a screen pass. The linebacker he attempted to block? It was former WVU linebacker Najee Goode. Go figure.

  • LB Nick Kwiatkoski - Chicago Bears - 6 tackles

Kwiatkoski got the start with Danny Trevathan out and he played well. In fact, he played so well he led the team in tackles and Pro Football Focus graded him out as the third-highest performer on the Bears in Week 1.

Joseph saw a good amount of playing time (30 snaps) and the former first-round pick looked good. On one running play by the Cardinals, Joseph came down hill in a hurry and smacked running back David Johnson. With the way he was moving, it looks like his 2015 torn ACL is in the rear-view mirror.

Dillon opened the second-half with a tackle on the opening kickoff followed by a second-consecutive tackle on the defense’s 1st and 10 play. However, he missed a tackle two plays later on running back Cameron Artis-Payne which went for 20 yards. He didn’t have a bad game but he also didn’t do anything to standout.

  • CB Rasul Douglas - Philadelphia Eagles - 1 tackle, 1 PD

If you only looked at the stat sheet, you might think Douglas only saw limited playing time. Yet, he played 34 snaps and Pro Football Focus graded him out as the fourth-highest player on the Eagles.

Performance of the Week

Anytime a defensive player can take one to the house, it’s hard to ignore. Garvin’s 37-yard pick-six was the obvious highlight of all the former Mountaineers in Week 1 of the preseason.

This and That

CB Daryl Worley - Carolina Panthers - 6 snaps - Worley will be one of the Panthers starting cornerbacks in 2017. The coaching staff obviously doesn’t feel the need for him to see anymore than a couple of series.

OL Marquis Lucas - Atlanta Falcons - 7 snaps

DE Christian Brown - Pittsburgh Steelers - 10 snaps

CB Maurice Fleming - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 12 snaps

S Keith Tandy - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 13 snaps (1 tackle) - Just like with Worley, Tandy will be a starter and the coaching staff doesn’t want to risk him getting injured. 13 snaps are plenty in Week 1 of the preseason.

C Tyler Orlosky - Philadelphia Eagles - 14 snaps

S Jarrod Harper - Jacksonville Jaguars - 2 tackles - Harper made a touchdown-saving tackle in the second-half. Unfortunately, the Patriots went on to score shortly after.

OG Quinton Spain - Tennessee Titans - 21 snaps

DL Noble Nwachukwu - San Francisco 49ers - 24 snaps (1 tackle) - Noble was oh-so-close to sacking Chiefs first-round pick Patrick Mahomes but Mahomes was able to get the ball away and complete the pass.

OL Adam Pankley - Green Bay Packers - 24 snaps - Pankley’s biggest play came when his quarterback fumbled the ball but he was able to recover it. Hey, that’s one way to get noticed by the coaching staff.

DE Will Clarke - Cincinnati Bengals - 30 snaps but no statistics recorded

G Mark Glowinski - Seattle Seahawks - Even though Glowinski did play, he was not the starter even though he started all 16 regular season games a year ago.

List of the WVU players who did not play in Week 1: RB Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles (injury), WR Tavon Austin, Los Angeles Rams (injury), LB J.T. Thomas, New York Giants (injury), OLB Bruce Irvin, Oakland Raiders (rest)