NFL Draft Preview: WVU hasn't had a 1st-rounder since 2016 -- Zach Frazier could change that

Apr. 24—MORGANTOWN — Zach Frazier will try to become West Virginia's first first-round pick since Karl Joseph in 2016 as the 2024 NFL Draft begins from Detroit Thursday at 8 p.m.

Frazier certainly has the pedigree of a potential first-rounder. A starter from the moment he stepped on campus, Frazier started 46 of 47 games in his college career, missing only one start during his freshman season and the final game of his senior year after breaking his leg.

The Fairmont native became the first freshman to start on West Virginia's offensive line since 1980 when he started nine out of 10 games at left guard in 2020. After that, he started 13 games in 2021, 12 games in 2022 and 12 games in 2023, all at center.

He is a two-time All-Big 12 first-teamer, a one-time All-Big 12 second-teamer and a one-time All-Big 12 honorable mention.

Following his senior season in 2023, Frazier was named third-team All-American and was a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy.

Frazier was invited to the NFL Combine, although he did not participate in most drills as he recovered from his injury. He did 30 reps on the bench press. He was also invited to the Reese's Senior Bowl, but did not play in the game.

Analyst Lance Zierlein of rates Frazier as a third-round pick, although an aggregate of mock drafts compiled on rates him as a high second-round pick.

Nierlein lists Frazier's strengths as having great core, upper-body and grip strength as well as his ability to drive opponents backward. His weaknesses center around having short arms and a general lack of length.

Frazier is often mocked to be selected in the mid-to-late 20s. A popular choice for Frazier is to be taken at pick 20 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who showed interest in Frazier at the NFL Combine.

Doug Nester Frazier wasn't the only pro prospect on WVU's offensive line last season—he is joined by fellow in-state product Doug Nester.

A Spring Valley graduate, Nester began his career at Virginia Tech, where he spent two seasons before transferring to WVU in 2021.

Nester started 24 games at right guard in 2021 and 2022 before moving out to right tackle for his senior season in 2023, when he started 11 games.

Nester and Frazier anchor an offensive line that led Power 5 in rushing yards (2, 976), was 11th in rushing touchdowns (32) and gave up the second-fewest sacks in the country (10).

Nester was invited to the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl following the season.

Zierlein at rates Nester as a priority undrafted free agent. Zielein likes Nester's size and strength but calls him "clunky " and slow getting out of his stance.

Beanie Bishop Beanie Bishop was only in Morgantown for one season, but he made the most of it.

A sixth-year senior, Bishop led the nation in passes defended (24) and pass breakups (20) with four interceptions at cornerback. He was named an NCAA Consensus All-American following the season, the 13th in school history.

Bishop transferred to WVU after one season at Minnesota. Prior to that, he played four years at Western Kentucky.

Bishop was invited to the East-West Shrine Bowl following the season.

He is considered to be right on the edge of draftable prospects. Zierlein at rates him as a seventh-rounder, but the aggregate at has him just outside as an undrafted free agent.

Zierlein likes Bishop's instincts and quickness but doesn't like his length at 5-foot-9, or his press coverage. Zierlein believes Bishop will need to move inside to slot corner as a pro, instead of playing outside like he did at WVU.

Devin Carter Like Bishop, Carter was another one-and-done transfer for the Mountaineers. He transferred to WVU after five seasons at NC State. He caught 27 passes for 501 yards and two touchdowns in 2023.

Carter underwent a core muscle procedure earlier this month that will require at least a month of rehab. He is expected to be ready for rookie mini-camp.

Carter is not ranked as a draftable prospect, receiving only undrafted free agent grades.

Other WVU players who have entered the NFL Draft but are not considered draftable prospects are safety Marcis Floyd, defensive lineman Davoan Hawkins, linebacker Lee Kpogba, receiver Noah Massey and cornerback Malachi Ruffin.

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