WVSports - Mountaineers on the Clock: David Sills
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Mountaineers on the Clock: David Sills

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With the NFL Combine completed and NFL Draft approaching, WVSports.com continues its multi-part series featuring NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler of The Athletic, who provides an in-depth look at West Virginia's draft prospects.

Previously, Brugler broke down offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste's tape and attributes.

Today, Brugler breaks down the development, skills, strengths and weaknesses of wide receiver David Sills, who played three seasons at West Virginia and ranks second all-time in program history in touchdown receptions with 35.

Note: This interview was completed prior to the NFL Combine.


Where is Sills right now in terms of development and how far off do you think he is from fitting in as a NFL receiver?

As far as his development goes, do you think NFL teams will view Sills as a project because of his skills and potential?

What kind of receiver do you see Sills being at the next level? What kind of offensive scheme do you think he can fit in? Do you think he’ll be best suited as a downfield threat or a yards after the catch receiver?

What are some more of his strengths and weaknesses?

Where do you see Sills being selected in the NFL Draft? (Brugler also discusses who Sills compares to)

What can he do to raise his draft stock?

Below is Brugler's complete evaluation of Sills:

DAVID SILLS V | West Virginia | 6030 | 210 lbs. | SR. Wilmington, Del. (Eastern Christian) 5/29/1996 (age 22.92) #13

BACKGROUND: A three-star quarterback recruit out of high school, David Sills V was considered a quarterback phenom in middle school (Red Lions Christian Academy) with his parents investing a lot of money into his development, hiring Steve Clarkson as a private quarterback coach. After Clarkson sent Lane Kiffin a highlight tape, Sills received a USC scholarship as a seventh grader, which made national headlines. He attended Eastern Christian Academy (Md.) for high school, which was basically a football factory created by Sills’ father (David IV). After playing through a broken knuckle in2012, he earned all-state honors as a junior in 2013, but missed most of the 2014 season due to an ankle injury. Now under Steve Sarkisian, USC planned to honor the scholarship, but with Ricky Town and Sam Darnold already part of the Trojans’ 2015 recruiting class, he decommitted. He was ranked as a top-25 pro-style quarterback recruit and received offers from Clemson, Michigan and Virginia Tech, but he chose West Virginia, who signed his former high school teammates Wendell Smallwood and Daikiel Shorts two years earlier. Sills started the 2015 season as the fourth-string quarterback and played wide receiver on the scout team to stay active. He initially declined a position change, but made the move late in his true freshman season, catching a touchdown in his first career game. With the hope of playing quarterback, Stills transferred to El Camino College for the 2016 season where he was the starter, throwing for 15 touchdowns in 10 games. However, the offers didn’t come until Dana Holgorsen called and gave him the opportunity to return to Morgantown as a receiver. Stills accepted his invitation to the 2019 Senior Bowl.

Sills's Stats and Notes (via Brugler)
YEAR (GP/GS) REC YDS AVG TD Notes

2015: (8/1)

7

131

18.7

2

N/A

2016: El Camino College

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

2017: (13/13)

60

980

16.3

18

First Team All-American; First Team All-Big 12; Led FBS in receiving TDs

2018: (12/12)

65

986

15.2

15

Second Team All-American; First Team All-Big 12; Led Big 12 in receiving TDs; Team Captain

Total: (33/26)

132

2,097

15.9

35

N/A

STRENGTHS: Above average height/length…long-striding acceleration makes him a legitimate deep threat…able to push the vertical stem before throttling down and working back to the ball…natural tracker, accurately judging the flight of the football to slow or accelerate…quick hands and reflexes to snare throws away from his frame…shows attention to detail in his patterns, using body leverage mid-route…initial quickness to gain free release vs. press…touchdown machine with 33 scores the past two seasons (most in FBS over that time)…blocking effort is there…senior captain…graduated with his degree in finance (Dec. 2018).

WEAKNESSES: Unimpressive body type with thin limbs and marginal build…below average play strength and will struggle vs. physical defenders…press-man coverage in the NFL will be unlike anything he faced in the Big 12…doesn’t have the body power to break tackles or win contested situations…not much of a YAC or make-you-miss threat…limited route tree experience and tends to round out of his breaks…late to find soft spots in zone…steady focus, but small hands and will have easy drops…limited upside as a blocker.

SUMMARY: A two-year starter at West Virginia, Sills played every receiver position (X, H, Y, Z) in the Mountaineers’ offense and quickly developed chemistry with quarterback Will Grier (over the last two years, 67.5% of Sills catches resulted in a first down or touchdown). To his credit, he plays like a receiver, not a quarterback masquerading as a receiver and has fully bought in to his new position. Sills had elite touchdown production and his 35 touchdown grabs rank second in WVU history. Overall, Sills has concerning play strength and is still developing as a route runner, but he makes natural adjustments on the football with the athletic profile to work his way up a wide receiver depth chart, projecting similar to Los Angeles Rams receiver Josh Reynolds.

NEXT: WVSports.com will have more break downs and analysis from Brugler in the near future on wide receiver Gary Jennings, tight end Trevon Wesco and linebacker David Long.

Brugler has been covering the NFL Draft for 10 years and began working for The Athletic this past August. For more of his NFL Draft analysis visit https://theathletic.com/author/dane-brugler/.

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