Mike Strange: This draft sure to be short on Vols

Mike Strange

If University of Tennessee fans tune in to watch the NFL draft Thursday night, it will be only out of curiosity.

Will the Colts pick a quality lineman to protect Peyton Manning in his elder years?

Any chance Alcoa’s Randall Cobb sneaks into the first round?

Will a fight break out right there in Radio City Music Hall between an Alabama fan and an Auburn fan?

It’s a far cry from the 2000 draft. Now there was a Tennessee parade.

Shaun Ellis and Jamal Lewis went in the first round, five more Vols followed in the second and Darwin Walker in the third. When Tee Martin was called in the fifth round, UT led the draft with nine picks.

Even in this diminished era of UT football, there has been a highlight moment for Vol fans to cheer during the first round.

Jason Allen (2006), Justin Harrell and Robert Meachem (2007), Jerod Mayo (2008), Robert Ayers (2009), they all took that multi-million-dollar walk to shake the commissioner’s hand.

Last year, it was but a short wait before Eric Berry’s face lit up in the green room, taking the call from Kansas City that he was about to be announced as the No. 5 pick.

Dan Williams joined the party later as the 26th pick, becoming UT’s seventh first-rounder in a five-year span.

That won’t happen in 2011.

If a Vol walks across that stage Thursday night, Mel Kiper will fall out of his chair and require CPR. So will his hair.

Opening night is exclusively the first round. The second and third rounds are Friday. Saturday will be a marathon to the finish line and, ultimately, the new Mr. Irrelevant.

By the time ESPN signs off Friday night, tight end Luke Stocker hopes to have found a new home. But there’s no guarantee.

The 2011 draft shapes up as a lengthy wait for UT. Cam Newton may have moved into a condo in Charlotte by the time a Vol gets called.

Surely it won’t be as long as 2004.

It took 136 picks — into the fifth round — for Gibril Wilson to break the drought. It was the first time since 1975 no Tennessee player had been picked in the first three rounds.

Falling down, or even off, the draft board is costly on the front end, but it isn’t the final word. Take 2004.

Wilson stuck and went on to win a Super Bowl. Scott Wells wasn’t picked until the seventh round, No. 251, and he’s still the starting center in Green Bay.

Several Vols who had to go the free-agent route in 2004 made teams. Anthony Herrera and Jabari Greer were starters in 2010 and Greer, like Wells and Wilson, has a Super Bowl ring.

Anybody out there wondering who will be Tennessee’s next first-rounder?

The talent pool at UT isn’t totally empty, but there has been significant leakage. I’d forego the diving board and slip in feet first.

Here’s a dark horse: Janzen Jackson.

He’s got first-round talent but off-the-field baggage. Even if Jackson resumes his career and excels, he’s got to prove that he’s worth a first-round investment.

Aside from that long shot, the best of what’s there is young. It might be the 2013 or 2014 draft before a worthy Vol matures.

For now, Thursday night will surely be an SEC parade. It just won’t include any orange.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 22

tlc3wp#268997 writes:

DUH!

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say whomever gets drafted will be assigned a Florida grad for a Gardner...
Bones never lie.

OrangeDew writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say whomever gets drafted will be assigned a Florida grad for a Gardner...
Bones never lie.

Maybe even a gardener :)

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to OrangeDew:

Maybe even a gardener :)

Witch Doctor say yes one of them too! lol. Witch Doctor went to cocktails with Witch Doctor wife..she drove home! lol.
Bones never lie.

PHAT_VOL writes:

It's embarssing to see how Florida is into some of the peoples heads on here kinda pathetic.
GO VOLS !!!

CoverOrange writes:

So what you are saying, Mike, is that there is currently no one on the roster with apparent potential to be first round. Not Justin Hunter, Justin Coleman, Alex Bullard, Marcus Jackson, Ja'Wuan Jame, etc., etc?

MikeTheTiger writes:

What about Randall Cobb? Oh yeah, nice pick Phil.

givehimsix82 writes:

good grief.... still talking about 05....

mcvol75 writes:

Now, if I'm correct, our lack of multiple first round picks over the last 5 years or so may have affected our overall win total in those years. Huh. Maybe getting four and five star guys IS important to the program. Guys with good character are important to any team,, but we need the studs to win. What a concept!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor life of party! (just add alcohol)lol. Witch Doctor say she knew this going in! Witch Doctor wife make Witch Doctor ride in back seat when drinking, I said "Buckle-up!" she said I was fine without! hehe
Bones never lie.

Biggie writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

So what you are saying, Mike, is that there is currently no one on the roster with apparent potential to be first round. Not Justin Hunter, Justin Coleman, Alex Bullard, Marcus Jackson, Ja'Wuan Jame, etc., etc?

I'm always amazed that so few here have developed any reading comprehension skills.

VOL1972 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

So what you are saying, Mike, is that there is currently no one on the roster with apparent potential to be first round. Not Justin Hunter, Justin Coleman, Alex Bullard, Marcus Jackson, Ja'Wuan Jame, etc., etc?

I think he is pointing out the obvious. When CDD arrived, the cupboard was bare. The names you listed are all recent arrivals who, with some coaching, may be future NFL'ers

givehim6 writes:

Is Mike hinting at the ides that Jackson may go in the draft this year? Noway he would have to fill out the paperwork first wouldn't he?

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Biggie:

I'm always amazed that so few here have developed any reading comprehension skills.

I'm always amazed that KNS editors change the text without mentioning it. The article originally said 2014 or 2015.

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dang Gomer you need to layoff mainlining Napalm and Agent Orange. Read Below if you can.

Berry started all 16 games and became the first Chiefs rookie to reach the Pro Bowl since linebacker Derrick Thomas after the 1989 season.[23] Berry had a big impact on the team's defense, improving the 2009 Chiefs from 29th best defense in terms of points allowed to 11th in the NFL in 2010,[24][25] he led the team in interceptions and was second only to Derrick Johnson in tackles and solo tackles.[26] He had 92 total tackles and four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, in 2010. His best game statistically came in his first playoff game, when he marked career-high solo tackles and defended passes. He had 10 total tackles, 9 being solo, while also defending 4 passes, three of them on 3rd down situation and one of these in the endzone on a 3rd and goal at the 1.[27]

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to InDestruCtible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I know what you mean Urkel. Coaching changes can have a long term effect. Take the Gators, Rural Meyer saw the handwriting on the wall knowing he hasn't recruited as good as Zooker did. His best teams were recruited by Zook (except for Tebow the Moil and Percy). He had all that "Paper" talent last year and led them to 5 losses. Now you bring in Galen Muschamp, who isn't sure what responsibilites he will have under Chuck Wies. He has no talent at the Skill positions and no leadership. Looks like the 2010's for the Gators and going to be Dickeyesque like the 70's. Hope you enjoy the mediocrity.

peyton4prez writes:

So was there any mention in that article of Vols that may get drafted this year? That seems like something you would want to put into an article thats entire point is the Vols or lack of, in this years NFL draft.

John_10065 writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He played very well! Came out like the force he was his whole career at UT.

Started 16 games, first KC rookie to be a pro-bowler, 92 tackles, 4 picks including 2 pick 6's.

Sounds like the makings of a hall of famer to me if he stays healthy.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

Tyler Bray 1st rounder,Justin Hunter 1st rounder,Justin Wooley 1st rounder.This team is loaded with 1st rounders...come on man open your eyes!!!

UsoCRAZY writes:

Stocker has the potential to be as good or better than Jason Whitten(another Vol) who has been pretty successful in the NFL. If I were a team that needed a Tightend or even a versatile player that can block and catch with above average speed and agility for a big man I would snatch up Stocker. It's likely more an issue of who needs that type of player that will determine where he goes.

VolzsFan writes:

In the past 5 years, Tennessee has had 7 first round draft picks. Very very few college programs can match that. Last year Tenn had 2 and 6 total. By the way, the NFL's leading rusher was not even picked. Most first rounders where 3 star guys in most years.

We have been blessed for the first time in school history to have as many draft picks as we have. In the 16 years of Fulmer's era, Tenn had more players drafted than any other SEC school. And the fact that UT still has almost as many on rosters as any other school it speaks to the way we where spoiled. Getting them here is the biggest battle since we do not put out any talent to speak of in this state. There is a reason the football community and not the chat board community, call Fulmer the best recruiting head coach in college football.

That era was just a positive blip. We are back to the average program with a big stadium. Enjoy.

murrayvol writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

In the past 5 years, Tennessee has had 7 first round draft picks. Very very few college programs can match that. Last year Tenn had 2 and 6 total. By the way, the NFL's leading rusher was not even picked. Most first rounders where 3 star guys in most years.

We have been blessed for the first time in school history to have as many draft picks as we have. In the 16 years of Fulmer's era, Tenn had more players drafted than any other SEC school. And the fact that UT still has almost as many on rosters as any other school it speaks to the way we where spoiled. Getting them here is the biggest battle since we do not put out any talent to speak of in this state. There is a reason the football community and not the chat board community, call Fulmer the best recruiting head coach in college football.

That era was just a positive blip. We are back to the average program with a big stadium. Enjoy.

Actually I am enjoying watching Dooley build something VolzFan.

I hated watching our program go to hell in a handbasket during Phil's last 8 years.

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