Even after bad year, Vols set for draft harvest

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 20, 2013 at 6:41 pm •  Published: March 20, 2013
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's total number of players drafted next month could exceed the Volunteers' win total from last season.

Although the Volunteers went 5-7 last fall with a defense that statistically ranked among the worst in school history, their offense featured several potential draft picks. That group showed its potential Wednesday during Tennessee's Pro Day event.

Wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter are possible first-round draft picks. Quarterback Tyler Bray is projected to go in the first three rounds. Offensive guard/tackle Dallas Thomas, tight end Mychal Rivera and wide receiver Zach Rogers are expected to get drafted as well. They can't help but wonder how a group so talented couldn't earn a bowl bid last season.

"It's something I wish we could have back because I know we could have won so much more games," Hunter said.

No college had as many as five players drafted last year after posting a losing record in 2011, though Miami had six players selected while coming off a 6-6 season. Clemson and Georgia each had six players drafted in 2011 after going 6-7 the previous fall.

Bray threw Wednesday to Patterson, Hunter, Zach Rogers and Tennessee Tech receiver Da'Rick Rogers among others in front of a crowd of NFL officials that included Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said the performances by Bray and the receivers reflected much of what he'd seen on game tape. They showed plenty of upside while also displaying some inconsistency.

"I think I did OK," Bray said. "There's a few throws I'd like to have back, but we've been working hard. The receivers ran great routes, ran hard all day."

Bray said he has added 23 pounds since the end of Tennessee's season, a gain that earned notice when he arrived for the NFL Scouting Combine last month. Bray weighed in at 229 pounds Wednesday.

"The touch is still there," Bray said. "I just might have a little more zip on the slants and quick routes."

Patterson, Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers didn't participate in the 40-yard dash after all three had run that event at the combine. Patterson was timed at 4.42 seconds, Hunter at 4.44 and Rogers at 4.52 at the combine.

"I was going to run the 40, but I had a lot of people saying don't even do it because your time was already good at the combine, so don't waste your time doing it," Patterson said.

Hunter posted a broad jump of 11 feet, 6 inches and a vertical jump of 40 ½ inches to improve upon his combine performances in both events. Hunter also ran the 3-cone drill in an unofficial time of 7.2 seconds. Hunter had a broad jump of 11-4 and a vertical jump of 39 ½ inches at the combine.

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