Mountaineers join NFL fold

First, wide receiver Tavon Austin was taken by St. Louis in the first round of last Thursday’s NFL draft, the eighth player taken overall.

In the second round, quarterback Geno Smith was the 39th player taken overall. And he was selected by the New York Jets.

Then, as the third round was nearly spent, it was the St. Louis Rams again, this time selecting wide receiver Stedman Bailey.

The three WVU players all had NFL homes by the time Friday’s second and third round had been completed.

In the first round, St. Louis had traded up to get Austin and team him with quarterback Sam Bradford.

Geno Smith was selected by a team that already had five quarterbacks under contract but didn’t get the results it wanted from any of them. A few days after the draft ended, the Jets gave quarterback Tim Tebow his outright release.

Mark Sanchez is still the incumbent quarterback and Rex Ryan is the incumbent coach, but Smith will be given ample opportunity to become the opening day starter.

Bailey left WVU with one year of eligibility remaining, but made his choice to leave the amateur ranks appear to be the correct one when he was selected by the Rams.

Bailey could be teamed with Austin, giving the Rams a two-man, on-field rookie receiving corps.

Marshall wide receiver Aaron Dobson was taken by New England in the second round as well.

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