The 77th annual NFL Draft isn't expected to be like the first one was for the Mountain State.
No first-rounders expected.
Way back in February 1936, at the first draft at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, the sixth name ever called in an NFL college player selection process was that of West Virginia tackle Joe Stydahar - the first-round pick by the Chicago Bears.
Stydahar, who played high school football for the Shinnston Spartans and eventually went on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was the first of 11 first-rounders to date for West Virginia schools - eight from WVU and three from Marshall.
The West Virginia Conference never has had a first-round selection ... but it was close.
Also in 1936, West Virginia Wesleyan's Len Barnum, a Parkersburg native, was the Andrew Luck of his day - the first quarterback taken - at No. 12 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates (there were no Steelers until '41).
That made him the third pick in Round 2. No other WVC player has been selected higher than the fourth round.
(As an aside, the last first-rounder in that initial draft became well known in the Mountain State later. Art "Pappy" Lewis, an Ohio University tackle and great coach of Sam Huff and Co. in the 1950s at WVU, was a New York Giants' selection at No. 9 overall.)
Fast forward to the present ... While no Mountaineer or Thundering Herd player is expected to go in Thursday night's first round calls at Radio City Music Hall, I'll be stunned if a couple of familiar names aren't off the board by late in Round 2 on Friday night.
And both bring something similar to the table.
Defensive ends Vinny Curry of Marshall and Bruce Irvin of WVU have great value as projected second-round picks. In a pass-first league like the NFL has been for years now, there are only two positions where stars are more valuable than men who can rush, harass and hit the passer.
That would be quarterback, obviously, and left offensive tackle, the primary protector against those aforementioned rushers toward a right-handed QB.
While Curry is more a prototype defensive end than Irvin, both are valued by NFL personnel men for their root skill - getting into an opponents' backfield. It stands to reason Curry will play up front in a 4-3. The smaller more versatile Irvin - a safety to start out in junior college - will be an outside linebacker ("rush end" if you'd prefer) in a 3-4.