Two in three: Pair of West Virginia players taken in third round of draft

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Two West Virginia players were selected in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft Thursday night.

Mountaineers running back Charles Sims was the fourth running back taken in the 2014 NFL Draft Friday night, going in the third round at the 69th overall pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Less than an hour later, his former teammate, defensive end Will Clarke went 88th overall to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Sims only played one season with the Mountaineers, rushing for 1,095 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013. He had transferred to West Virginia from Houston, where he rushed for 2,370 yards and 29 touchdowns over three seasons.

He'll likely provide some depth for Tampa Bay behind running back Doug Martin, who rushed for 1,454 yards in 2012, but was limited to six games by a season-ending injury last year.

It took a while for any running back to go Friday night, as none were selected until Washington's Bishop Sankey went 54th overall to the Titans in the second round.

Clarke, an Allderdice graduate, will get to return to Pittsburgh once a year for a game against the Steelers as a member of the Bengals.

He played in all 12 games for the Mountaineers in 2013, racking up 49 tackles, including a team-high 17 tackles for loss. He'll join a Cincinnati defense that ranked 10th in the NFL with 43 team sacks, but no individual player had more than Wallace Gilberry and Carlos Dunlap with 7.5 apiece.


Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG

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