Tennessee Volunteers: 10 Predictions for Volunteers Taken in the NFL Draft
The first thing you have to accept when you make predictions about any athlete is that once you've put it in print it will forever be a reminder that:
A. I was right on the money, and all should bow to my sports wisdom.
B. I couldn't predict the weather in a blazing dessert, and I only hope this doesn't get syndicated nationally. Add in the lockout, coaches, team owners, sports agents, free agency and the predominant, hundreds of other athletes who actually know their own will and you would have a better chance at a 1000 number roulette.
For Luke Stocker and Denarius Moore, their number finally came up. Now that the tough part is over...uh wait no it isn't, now they get to worry if they will get to play, period.
Denarius Moore Will Become the Fastest Raider
With a 4.37 40-yard dash, it's amazing to me that Moore went as low as he did. And we all understand that seven receivers sat atop the most desirable list. But if you factor in his health, and virtually injury-free collegiate career I would have easily guessed that he would have went no lower than the third round.
Regardless, speed, speed, speed is what you need, especially when you make it to the big time. Moore worked his but off pre-combine to show just how fast he was, but it still wasn't enough for the scouts. He was criticized for being too slow off the snap, so he will head out to the practice field and spend day after day working off the snap to silence the scouts at least where speed is concerned.
If he actually makes it to camp, he will officially clock a 4.3 40, and become the fastest Raider.
2nd Team TE John Gilmore Will Be Left in the Dust by Stocker
Tampa QB Josh Freeman loves his TEs, he loves them so much that 84 of his 291 completions last season went to TEs. Stocker has the benefit of playing effectively under four QBs and being productive. John Gilmore, however, has only managed 31 receptions in three years with the Bucs and has only played under three QBs including college. Stocker finished his senior season with 39 receptions for 417 yards, and managed a reception under two QBs in every game. Yes, still comparing college to the pros. Free agency will push Gilmore out by season end.
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey Will Lose His Job
With his less than stellar performance in 2010, Darrius Heyward-Bey will find out the hard way that Denarius Moore is much more accustomed to Jason Cambell scramble tactics. Heyward-bey only caught 26 receptions for 366 yards, and before you say it yes we know it's the pros, but when you pile up 47 receptions for 981 yards in the SEC you are pretty freakin' close to that caliber of talent. You can bet Raiders WR Coach Sal Linjay is also banking on that.
Luke Stocker Will Discover His Weakness
One thing that analysts keep saying about Stocker is that he isn't particularly good at one thing, but performs adequately at many tasks.
One of the things I agree with is he forgets his size. At 6'5", 255 lbs. he can pretty much get away with murder when he faces a DB because he's tall enough to raise his hands, and heavy enough to take a hit. He can do that and he has done that, but he doesn't do it enough. Think of it like this. How many times have you seen Stocker jump or dive for a pass when all he would have had to do was reach out and grab it?
Far too much attention has been drawn to this shortcoming. Don't think for an instance that he hasn't read those combine reports. My thinking is he will start watching Dallas film to see how former Tennessee TE Jason Witten has been successful with Tony Romo, he will then mimic those characteristics.
Denarius Moore Will Discover His Weakness
Unfortunately for Moore, he endured three different strength and conditioning coaches during his time at Tennessee, and it showed at the combine. With 13 bench press repetitions Moore was quite literally in the middle of the pack, but why?
Bennie Wylie should have been able to keep his stamina up enough to carry him through his departure and post season hiatus. Even the scouting reports have him struggling to break tackles before he has even caught a pass. One scout even went so far as to say his ability to improve seemed physically impossible(paraphrased).
I believe Moore also knows this, and will spend his time wisely; by pounding protein supplements and revisiting the gym...often.
LeGarrette Blount Will Add 200 Yards to His Season off Stocker
Blount rushed for a 1000 yards last season, and the critics for the most part agreed that starting TE Kellen Winslow could have contributed to a better season. Stocker is a better blocker than Winslow, and that is where he will get the majority of his reps. Running down-field interference; LB will have a tougher time getting by Stocker and Blount makes good on the open field. This is the part where TE Coach Alfredo Roberts starts wondering if he can utilize Stocker more. Then OC Greg Olsen says "Hey, he can catch pretty good too, right?"
Moore Won't Have a Break-out Year
Moore is exactly where he needs to be to be successful. This season, if there is a season at all will be a learning process for Moore, but he will benefit from it. Moore will study his weaknesses and probably finish with respectable numbers for a rookie who should never have been drafted so low.
If Moore can make it to the rotation he will be noticed by Head Coach Hue Jackson as a playmaker. With 30 receptions for 550 yards he will enter next season and learn to make sharper cuts, decide that blocking is part of his job description, and discover he has to be more like Bill Romanowski of the Raiders, than Denarius Moore at Tennessee.
Luke Stocker Will Become the No. 2 TE
Coming out of the gates, Stocker will enter camp as a nobody just like any other rookie. What he has going for him is a more rigorous work-out regimen and youth. His closest competition is rookie Nathan Overby, recently signed from the Bucs practice squad. After the tale of the tape, Stocker will also out distance one-year veteran Ryan Purvis, last season Purvis was seldom used and managed five receptions for 38 yards.
Overby is said to have to become somewhat of a physical specimen having lost eight pounds and regained 11 in solid muscle. Stocker still is no slouch as he zipped the 225-lb. bench 27 times at the combine. With the benefit of Tennessee coaches during post season, and his commitment to training he edges out the rookie and first year veteran to slide into the number two spot on the depth chart. Next season he will assume the starting role or be traded for a pick, to the Titans.
Denarius Moore Will Go to Hawaii Year Three
Denarius Moore will become a leading WR in the NFL. Why you ask? Pro Bowler Dwayne Bowe, that's why. Unlike Moore, Bowe was a first rounder back in 2007 out of LSU, but what is unique about the pair is that they both had virtually identical numbers, at least on a game by game basis. For Moore his biggest Achiles' heel is weight comparison and negative results in the short game.
Bowe is a powerhouse, which is what you need to be to be effective at this level, but he was thrust into the starting lineup not because of talent, but rather because an injury to starting WR Eddie Kennison. And that's reallty all you need is the opportunity and a little talent. And for the record Bowe only went in the first round because his agent started running up his numbers and started posting early that he was worth mega-dollars. And on another note, Bowe was criticized for virtually the same weaknesses when he was drafted despite his talent.
Stocker Won't Go to the Pro-Bowl but He Will Be on the All-Madden Team
Luke Stocker will lead a blue-collar existence in the NFL. Along with all the guys that take a licking and keep on ticking he will be recognized much the same way that offensive linemen are forgotten, but remembered when they leave the game because without them the entire offense suffers. Within the next three to four years, Stocker will reach the level of talent Jason Witten attained in his second year. After that everyone will see that he is indeed talented and has been looked over for far too long.
For the record, one more slide for a Vol that should have been selected for the draft, but wasn't.
Nick Reveiz Wasn't Drafted but He Should Have Been
From the first day Nick Reveiz walked on to Tennessee's field they said he was too small, but out of respect for his dad they let him try. He stayed for four years, and despite injury he was one of the most vocal players to ever walk the sidelines. On the field he was one of the most passionate players to ever wear orange. He coached, played, taught and mentored every player that crossed his path. They may say size is instrumental in every part of the NFL, but when you have a player with half of the heart and character that Nick Reveiz has, you can only be better off for bringing him in.
We haven't seen the last of Nick, I'm betting he walks on again and proves people wrong, again. Click to understand why. Nick Reveiz.