Fewer than 40 days separate National Football League teams and talent evaluators from the opening round of the 2023 NFL Draft. That also means less than six weeks remain before more than 250 college football players’ lives change forever when they are selected by one of the 32 NFL franchises.
Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Dante Stills aim to be among those 250-plus players who hear their names called between April 27 and April 29.
Both Ford-Wheaton and Stills performed well at the NFL Combine earlier this month. Stills earned high marks across the board in Indianapolis, and Ford-Wheaton topped his wide receiver class in the vertical jump exercise.
The Mountaineer duo both saw their draft projections improve thanks to their performance at the combine. However, the speculation surrounding where either now-former WVU standout will be picked ranges heavily.
Here are some of the latest projections for Ford-Wheaton and Stills, along with analysis (if available).
Pro Football Network
Analysis: According to the website, “With 4.38 speed at [6 feet 4 inches tall], 221 pounds, Bryce Ford-Wheaton is the big-play specialist the Jaguars’ offense still needs.”
Draft projection: 3rd Round, 88th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Draft projection: 5th Round, 176th overall to the Dallas Cowboys
The Draft Network
Analysis: This website used terms like “promising physical abilities” to describe Ford-Wheaton. According to the site’s lead evaluator, Ford-Wheaton projects as a “developmental possession receiver at the NFL level who has the size and body control to win in contested situations.” Ford-Wheaton’s physical abilities are heavily noted in this analysis, though his drops are one of the reasons for concern, according to the site.
Draft projection: 5th Round evaluation
Analysis: The Draft Network had the following to say about Stills. “The first word you have to use to describe him is ‘tireless.'” The site noted Stills’ “red-hot motor” and “relentless” pursuit of the football. Stills’ stature, or as the website’s evaluator put it, his “undersized frame,” is the main knock against WVU’s all-time leader in tackles for loss.
Draft projection: 7th Round evaluation
Prospect Ranking: 251st overall player
Prospect Ranking: 183rd overall player
Pro Football Focus
Analysis: Ford-Wheaton’s PFF draft stock has risen roughly 50 spots since he arrived at the combine. He now ranks as the 145th-best overall prospect in this year’s draft. The wideout earned an overall grade of 69.7 from the site for the 2022 season, during which he set career highs in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. According to PFF’s latest set of mock drafts, the outlet expects Ford-Wheaton to be selected anywhere from pick 152 to 183.
Draft projection: 5th Round, 169th overall to the Dallas Cowboys
Analysis: Stills’ PFF draft stock has seen a slight improvement over the last month or so, though not to the degree of his college teammate’s. Stills earned an impressive 85.7 overall grade from PFF for the 2022 season. According to the site, that was the second-best grade among all Big 12 defensive tackles. Pro Football Focus expects Stills to be among the players selected in the final round of the draft in April.
Draft projection: 7th Round, 235th overall to the Green Bay Packers