Morgantown, West Virginia – If you didn’t think Neal Brown was a bad head coach before, the NFL combine numbers of his former players from last season should make it pretty apparent.
Over the weekend, Bryce Ford-Wheaton, a former West Virginia wide receiver, absolutely dominated at the NFL Combine. Ford-Wheaton measured at 6’4, 221 pounds, ran the 40 yard dash in 4.38 seconds, the 3rd-fastest time among wide receivers, and jumped 41 inches in the vertical leap, which was tops at his position.
In other words, he is an absolute freak of nature. Being that size and being able to run that fast and jump that high is extraordinarily rare. Since 2003, Ford-Wheaton is only the 3rd player that size, that fast and that explosive. DK Metcalf and Tariq Woolen of the Seattle Seahawks are the only other two to do it since 2003.
In addition, Dante Stills, a former defensive lineman for the Mountaineers, Stills ran a 4.85 40-yard dash and posted a vertical jump of 28.5″ and a broad jump of 9’5, which were far better than expected.
Ford-Wheaton and Stills put on an absolute show during the NFL Combine and certainly increased their value going into the 2023 NFL Draft, but what’s startling is the lack of production from a player like Bryce Ford-Wheaton at West Virginia.
While Ford-Wheaton put up reasonably solid stats last season, catching 62 passes for 675 yards (10.9 yard per reception) and 7 touchdowns, these are not the type of stats you would expect from one of the most physically-dominant wide receivers to enter the NFL Draft in years.
Unfortunately, Ford-Wheaton, and many other incredibly-talented players to play for the Mountaineers under Neal Brown, have not been used properly and have failed to gain the attention of NFL scouts because of that. Under Brown, West Virginia only has one player playing in the NFL in four seasons. Tony Fields II, who now plays linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, played only one year under Brown at West Virginia.
While Neal Brown has had a lot of talent in his four years with the Mountaineers, an awful lot players have not been used appropriately and have not lived up to their potential.
Reminder: @Brycewheat3 is 6’4” 221 lbs. running this 4.38u 👀
📺: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/uP3flZUi8o
— West Virginia Football (@WVUfootball) March 4, 2023