Cordarrelle Patterson, WR
The skinny: He’s an unpolished and raw route-runner who might struggle mentally in digesting an NFL playbook. But receivers with his big-play skills don’t come around often, which is why he’ll make millions in pro football.
Projection: He was invited to New York for a reason, but only the rare mock draft projects him to slip below the first round. However, most expect that he’ll be one of the final players chosen Thursday.
Justin Hunter, WR
The skinny: The speedy track star had more drops than he would have liked in 2012, but still finished the year healthy after enduring an injury-riddled 2011 campaign. That made the decision to go pro one year early a no-brainer.
Projection: Patterson has received more attention — both negative and positive — but many believe that Hunter will be drafted right on his heels. Some have even suggested that Hunter could go before Patterson, perhaps late in the first round or early in the second.
Tyler Bray, QB
The skinny: Bray didn’t win as many games as he would have liked, but he helped lead one of the most productive offenses in the SEC during his final season with Vols. Scouts love his arm strength, but question his head.
Projection: Opinions vary about where Bray should be picked, but there seems to be a consensus about where he will be selected. Most think he’ll go in the third or fourth round.
Dallas Thomas, OL
The skinny: A shoulder injury suffered during practice at the Senior Bowl kept Thomas from doing many physical workouts with teams, but he impressed enough during interviews to maintain his draft stock.
Projection: The third round is a good bet for Thomas. If he slips much farther than that, the injury may have been more costly than realized.
Mychal Rivera, TE
The skinny: An unsung contributor to UT’s 2012 offense, Rivera had 562 receiving yards in his final season.
Projection: Rivera bulked up in an effort to convince NFL teams that he was big enough to block and catch, but he might be hurt by a deep pool of tight end talent in this year’s class. Most expect him to be snatched up as a late-round pick.
Da’Rick Rogers, WR
The skinny: Rogers was meant to be the third part of the Vols’ incredible receiver trio last year, but multiple flunked drug tests forced him to finish his career at Tennessee Tech.
Projection: Rogers claims to be a changed man, but not every NFL team is convinced that he won’t be a character risk. His poor decisions cost him a lot of money, but he’s still likely to be a mid-round value pick for some team.
Montori Hughes, DT
The skinny: He spent a lackluster stint at Tennessee before being kicked off the team, but Hughes managed to straighten things out at UT Martin. He got a Senior Bowl invite and is a legitimate NFL prospect.
Projection: Hughes has impressed in pre-draft workouts. Surprising as it might be for a player who most UT fans had long since forgotten about, Hughes could be a mid-round pick this weekend.
Zach Rogers, WR
The skinny: A reliable receiver for the Vols, he was one of Tyler Bray’s favorite targets.
The projection: A strong pro day showing could elevate Rogers into late-round position.
Herman Lathers, LB
The skinny: Lathers helped hold together UT’s defense during a rocky season. He scored an invite to the NFLPA Bowl.
The projection: He could sneak in as a late-rounder, but free agency is Lathers’ most likely path to the league.
Ben Bartholomew, FB/TE
The skinny: The third generation Vol developed into an important contributor late in his career.
The projection: Bartholomew has pitched his versatility, which should help him secure a free-agent deal.
Darrington Sentimore, DT
The skinny: Junior college transfer Sentimore spent only one year at UT before departing after last season.
The projection: After a lackluster pro day, Sentimore may have to hunt for a free-agent deal.
DBs Prentiss Waggner, Rod Wilks and Marsalis Teague; and defensive lineman Willie Bohannon.