NFL draft: Ex-WVU standouts Sims, Clarke selected in 3rd round

A pair of former West Virginia players heard their names called during the second day of the NFL draft Friday night.

Running back Charles Sims was taken early in the third round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with defensive end Will Clarke going later in the round to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Sims, who spent just one season at WVU after transferring from Houston, was the 69th overall pick and the fifth selection of the round. He was also just the fourth running back taken after none were selected until midway through the second round.

Sims ran for 1,095 yards and 11 touchdowns during his lone season in Morgantown. He also caught 45 passes at WVU and 203 for his career.

The 6-foot, 213-pound Sims was named first team All-Big 12 and was the league’s newcomer of the year.

Bishop Sankey of Washington was the first running back taken, but not until the 54th pick. LSU’s Jeremy Hill and Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde followed soon after, then Sims.

Clarke saw his draft stock rise after a senior season that saw him make 49 tackles and lead the Mountaineers with six sacks and 17 tackles for loss. A second-team All-Big 12 selection, the 6-foot-6, 271-pound Clarke earned invitations to the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and the NFL Combine, where he impressed scouts with his athleticism. Clarke was the 88th player selected and the 24th to come off the board in the third round.

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