UT Vols in NFL Draft: Who? Where? What?
If you’re a fan of more than just the Vols football team and you want to see where our beloved Vols alumni end up in the NFL, this is just the subject for you.
Montario Hardesty, Dan Williams, and Eric Berry are the best Volunteers in the draft this year. With the draft only a few weeks away, what uniform are we likely to see these guys put on after it’s all said and done? Well, the draft is as unpredictable as Armageddon, but I like to think I have a decent guess.
I’ll start with Montario Hardesty. Here’s a guy who I thought should have started his entire college career, even over Arian Foster. He’s got decent speed and the ability not only to break tackles but to evade them. Remember his sick spin move?
So, what are some possibilities for Hardesty in the draft? Well, the NFL free agency isn’t over just yet and with a few big name running backs still available it’s hard to tell. However, my pick has got to be San Diego. The Chargers cut LaDainian Tomlinson leaving their primary back to be the 5’6” speedy Darren Sproles. While I do love Sproles, especially at his other job (punt and kick returner), I am not convinced he can handle the workload of a full time running back.
Don’t get me wrong, Sproles is very good and when he does find a hole he gets through it fast and explosive. San Diego is very confident in Sproles or they wouldn’t have cut an amazing running back in L.T. With that confidence they have in Sproles, I don’t see the Chargers making a running back their first priority in the draft.
But I still firmly believe they want more depth at the position, and that’s exactly what Hardesty gives to any team. The Chargers have a late pick in each round so I could see them picking up Hardesty with their third round pick. If the Chargers don’t get him, look for Hardesty to go a few picks earlier to the Eagles who released Brian Westbrook, or if he drops a few picks to the Redskins with new running back-crazy head coach Mike Shanahan.
Our next former Vol on the list is Dan Williams. In college we loved his ability to clog the middle and stop the run. That’s what Tennessee has always been known for and he lived up to that responsibility.
The Minnesota Vikings have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL with Jared Allen and Ray Edwards, but they need some more force in the middle and that’s exactly what Dan Williams would give them from day one. Their main man in the middle right now, Pat Williams, is soon to retire if not this year, in the near future. With defensive linemen like Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh in the draft, Williams won’t be drafted until they are gone. Lucky for him that’s going to be pretty quick and I see the Vikings picking up Williams at pick 30 in the first round.
If the Vikings don’t pick up Williams, look for Rex Ryan and his defense-happy Jets to snatch him up right before the Vikings. If he ends up dropping to the second round and the Buccaneers can’t get Suh or McCoy in the first round with their third overall pick, Williams would be a likely pickup and consolation prize early in the second round for Tampa.
Speaking of Tampa Bay, with the third overall pick in the draft, Eric Berry is next on the list! Ask me and I will tell you I hate thinking of Berry in Tampa Bay. For some reason I just don’t like it, but it’s my honest pick. And I can’t blame the Bucs. They need help at the DB position and Berry will come in as a rookie and give any team an immediate boost not only in the secondary, but on the entire defense. It’s well known that the Bucs would like to have Suh or McCoy, and if either are somehow still available after the first two picks, the Bucs will go with them and what I predicted with Dan Williams becomes more possible.
If this does actually happen, and the Bucs don’t get Berry for Suh or McCoy, it won’t be long before Berry is picked up. Predicting where he might end up is extremely difficult. Just about every team in the top 10 could use the help in the secondary. After Tampa Bay in the draft there are Washington, Kansas City, Seattle, Cleveland, Oakland, and Buffalo. Other than Washington, who I am fairly certain will draft a QB with their first pick, any of those teams are possibilities for Berry. But I definitely don’t seem him dropping out of the top 10. The draft is unpredictable, but one thing is certain about Eric Berry’s future. He will completely change how other teams play him and his future team.
A few other Vols to be on the watch for in the draft include John Crompton QB, Rico McCoy LB, Chris Scott OT, and Dennis Rogan CB.
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