MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — As a junior, Biletnikoff Award voters deemed West Virginia’s David Sills one of the three best receivers in the United States. Sills delivered a senior-season encore by being named an all-American again.
Yet in a 2019 NFL draft that saw 29 receivers selected, no general manager expended a pick on Sills.
Sills, who ranks second in WVU history with 35 touchdown catches, resorted to signing with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent.
Fortunately for Sills, his drop through the draft opens a solid opportunity. Buffalo did not draft a receiver despite possessing one of the league’s most mediocre passing attacks. Buffalo ranked 31st in receiving yardage and 25th in receiving plays over 20 yards in 2018. Only 50.6 percent of Buffalo’s completions resulted in first downs, which rated 28th out of 32 teams.
Going undrafted is not the first unexpected turn in Sills’ football career.
He was the youngest player to be offered a Division I scholarship when USC’s Lane Kiffin recruited him as a 13-year-old quarterback. Sills eventually signed with West Virginia and was moved to wide receiver in training camp. Wanting to give quarterback another try, he transferred to El Camino (Calif.) Community College for a year before ditching that plan and returning to West Virginia as a wide receiver.
Sills ended up eighth in West Virginia history with 2,097 receiving yards, including seven games over 100 yards.
Sills is one of three Mountaineers to sign as undrafted free agents. Safety Dravon Askew-Henry, an Aliquippa, Pa. native, signed with his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers. Defensive lineman Kenny Bigelow was picked up by the New Orleans Saints. Safety Toyous Avery will go to rookie mini-camp with the Seattle Seahawks, joining teammate Gary Jennings.
West Virginia players in the 2019 NFL Draft
Will Grier, QB — Round 3, Pick 37 (Carolina Panthers)
Yodny Cajuste, OT — Round 3, Pick 38 (New England Patriots)
Gary Jennings, WR — Round 4, Pick 18 (Seattle Seahawks)
Trevon Wesco, TE — Round 4, Pick 19 (New York Jets)
David Long, LB — Round 6, Pick 16 (Tennessee Titans)