Thinner Parker can feel draft

Former UT guard projects to play center in NFL

Wednesday's Pro Day at the University of Tennessee featured at least two big bodies the Vols wouldn't mind having back for another season.

Defensive end Robert Ayers, projected by some to be a first-round pick in next month's NFL draft, turned heads again.

But of the 13 former UT players who ran through a series of drills at Neyland-Thompson Sports Center for NFL scouts, guard Anthony Parker and offensive tackle Ramon Foster are two the Vols might miss most.

Both players figure to be drafted next month.

"It's a great feeling," Parker said. "It's really just a blessing to be in this situation. Everyone dreams of playing in the NFL or the NBA as a little kid, so to be in this situation and have this opportunity is a great thing."

Foster said he's been told by team personnel to expect to hear his name called during the NFL draft April 25-26.

"They said they know I'd be drafted and know I'd make a team, so that's what I'm going off of right now," Foster said.

Parker's NFL future could require a change of position.

At close to 6-foot-2, he projects better as a center, where he played some in 2005 before moving to right guard in 2006. Since then, he started all but the 2007 Outback Bowl at guard, a total of 39 games.

Since leaving campus, he's trimmed down to 297 pounds. Although he was listed at 300 pounds last season, he played at a heavier weight.

He also participated in every drill except the bench press Wednesday, where he stood on the 24 repetitions of 225 pounds he posted at the NFL combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.08 seconds, nearly two-tenths of a second faster than the target time for most centers and guards.

Much of Wednesday's work was focused on improving on his combine numbers, which were affected somewhat by a high-ankle sprain he suffered during the third day of practice for the Senior Bowl in January.

"I didn't know if I was going to get to the combine at the time. But hey, everything happens for a reason," he said. "I took it for what it was, and while my ankle was down I improved on other things. It worked out both ways."

Foster, meanwhile, missed Wednesday's workout - something that rarely happened during his UT career. Sick with strep throat last week, the 6-5, 327-pound lineman did not work out for scouts.

After a strong showing in individual drills at the combine last month, he had hoped to bolster his 40-yard dash time. Instead, he attended the event and spoke with scouts.

"I think they took what they needed," Foster said. "One of the guys from the Patriots just said we got enough film of you. I guess it did matter, but it wasn't a big deal that I didn't do anything today."

There's plenty of film to dissect, too. Foster started his final 26 games at right tackle.

Foster left a big void at right tackle for the Vols, who continue spring practice today, although he's confident they'll find a suitable replacement.

"I'm wishing them well," he said. "I really want to see them do good. They got a little bit of maturity they got to get with that position being a little off right now, but I think they'll be fine. I saw a little bit of practice (Tuesday). They're fired up. I know they're running around and moving - and very physical. I'm liking it right now."

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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Comments » 13

98memories writes:

Good luck! Hope all of you make it.

volpreacher writes:

I wish them both well but I hope the teams don't look at last year's films.

smashmouth98 writes:

I don't see either one of these players making waves in the NFL. Parker was WAY Overrrated and Foster is slow off the line. However, I do wish them the Best of Luck.

kbart4033#247331 writes:

Glad to hear that Anthony is finally getting serious about his abilities and focused on a career. He was a huge disappointment last fall, playing well below his talent
level because he never bothered to get in shape. He let down
his teammates big-time!

eb502us#225637 writes:

Is there a trend here of players getting in better shape on their own than they were during the season?

Sounds like Fulmer and staff were definitely asleep at the wheel which is not surprising given the season we had.

bspurlingcac#225603 writes:

yes they can.

JohnnyU writes:

Interesting that Parker gets his weight down after his last year. For years, I've thought our O-linemen looked too heavy.

bud0323 writes:

Robert Ayers is definately a first rounder before this he was projected as an early second rounder now after this day he's definately a first rounder. So at least one of these guys will go to the NFL.

jimr07 writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

Is there a trend here of players getting in better shape on their own than they were during the season?

Sounds like Fulmer and staff were definitely asleep at the wheel which is not surprising given the season we had.

in case you have not heard,fulmer is no longer the head coach.

Volunatic writes:

I wish them well, but I have no idea why Anthony Parker and Ramon Foster would be projected as locks for being on NFL rosters.
Was I the only one who saw the Wyoming D-Line run all over those guys?
(Maybe the NFL scouts have seen the tape of those two carrying Fulmer off the field after the Kentucky game. That IS an impressive feat.)

Bigger_Al writes:

I hope Anthony doesn't yell and wave his arms at his next stop. Maybe it will be OK if Deputy Barney Fife from the KPD doesn't follow him.

dc_4_ut writes:

Of all the top players in the SEC, Patrick Patterson is the 1st guy I would take.... He's what every big man should be, Tyler Hansbrough minus the deep range... Sure would be nice having him in the paint w/ Chism shooting 3's...

Volunatic writes:

in response to dc_4_ut:

Of all the top players in the SEC, Patrick Patterson is the 1st guy I would take.... He's what every big man should be, Tyler Hansbrough minus the deep range... Sure would be nice having him in the paint w/ Chism shooting 3's...

I could have sworn this article was about football.

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