Tyler Bray shut out at NFL draft, but Mychal Rivera lands with home-state team

TE Rivera is 6th-round pick

Associated press
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray works out during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 24.

Photo by Dave Martin

Associated press Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray works out during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 24.

Editor's note: Story has been updated with information saying Tyler Bray will sign a free-agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, not the Miami Dolphins.

Eleven quarterbacks were selected in this weekend NFL’s draft, including four in the final minutes of Saturday’s seven-hour television marathon.

When the last pick was called, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray was still without a team.

Bray, who passed up his senior year of eligibility to turn pro, will have to make a team as a free agent. So will former UT receiver Da’Rick Rogers. Both players were projected to go in the middle rounds, but both were apparently hurt by questions about their maturity and preparedness for the NFL.

Late Saturday night, ESPN’s Field Yates, citing a league source, reported that Bray would sign with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Shortly after the draft ended, Rogers agreed to a free-agent deal with the Buffalo Bills, according to the Star-Ledger. Later, Rogers tweeted “I’m a Buffalo Bill.”

While the draft was a crushing disappointment for Bray, the news was better for UT tight end Mychal Rivera, who was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the sixth round with the 184th overall pick.

A native of Valencia, Calif., Rivera began his college career at Oregon before transferring to a junior college and then to Tennessee. He caught 36 passes for 562 yards in a strong senior season for the Vols in 2012.

His sister Naya is a noted actress who plays Santana Lopez on the television musical comedy “Glee.” She tweeted out a photo Saturday that showed Rivera posing with four police officers. She said they had been called on a noise complaint because the family celebration was so loud when Rivera was picked.

Rivera was the first UT player drafted Saturday, joining receivers Cordarrelle Patterson (first round, Minnesota Vikings), Justin Hunter (second round, Tennessee Titans) and Dallas Thomas (third round, Miami Dolphins).

Former UT defensive tackle Montori Hughes, who completed his career at UT Martin, was picked in the fifth round (139th overall) by the Indianapolis Colts.

“It’s a blessing,” Hughes told the Daily News Journal. “As a kid, you dream about the opportunity to play in the NFL. To be able to live that dream is a blessing.”

A 6-foot-4, 329-pound native of Murfreesboro, Hughes played as a reserve during his freshman season in 2009. He missed the season finale of 2010 due to a rules violation and was eventually dismissed from the team before the 2011 season.

But Hughes reached his potential at UT Martin. He had 31 tackles, including 8.5 for loss, four sacks and 13 quarterback hurries as a senior with the Skyhawks in 2012. Hughes worked out for NFL teams at Tennessee’s pro day in Knoxville last month.

“This kid has more talent than fifth-rounders have,” said NFL.com analyst Mike Mayock. “It’s just a matter of getting it out.”

The Colts may have gotten a late steal with Hughes, but many expected teams to pursue Bray and Rogers for the same reason.

Rogers was kicked off the team at UT just before the 2012 season. He finished his career at Tennessee Tech.

Bray had minor off-the-field issues at Tennessee and was sometimes criticized for his demeanor and body language on the field. But with a strong arm and tall frame, most thought he could overcome those issues. His failure to get picked could indicate that pre-draft interviews with NFL teams didn’t go well.

For Rivera, being picked by the Raiders gives him an opportunity to play for his home-state team. It also links him with a front office filled with former Vols.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is a Knoxville native and Austin-East High School graduate who played football at Tennessee during the 1980s. McKenzie hired veteran NFL scouting director Joey Clinkscales to be his director of player personnel in Oakland. Clinkscales was a teammate of McKenzie’s at UT and was captain of the Vols’ 1986 team. McKenzie’s twin brother Raleigh is a Raiders college scout.

Free-Agency: UT fullback Ben Bartholomew (New England Patriots), receiver Zach Rogers (New York Jets) and defensive back Prentiss Waggner (Arizona Cardinals) agreed to free-agent contracts or camp invitations, according to online reports late Saturday night. Linebacker Herman Lathers, defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore and defensive back Rod Wilks are among other Vols who will purse a camp invitation with an NFL team.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments » 266

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Bray getting snubbed came as surprise to no one but him.

voloffaith writes:

Talk about a 'Family Affair' with the Raiders. Vol connections run deep. Best of opportunities Mr. Rivera...be a star like sis..........

underthehill writes:

..if any player thinks their behavior and attitude problems are cute..take a look at what it got Bray and Rogers..

8ball writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Bray getting snubbed came as surprise to no one but him.

Sad but true.

Orangeblood13 writes:

Karma

chipmurphy461 writes:

As a UT fan, I hope Bray has a successful NFL career. As a football fan in general Bray's immaturity on and off the field really hurt his draft potential, coupled with him never coming through in a game determining situation.

tovolny writes:

So, what do you think of the NFL advisers? On the other hand, this might be the best thing that could have happened to Bray. Now he has to enter pros with hat in hand, and the other hand reaching out. Had he gone in the first or second round, his inflated air would have separated him from other pro teammates. I hope he makes it big someday...but right now, a degree would be nice, uh?

wigmeister writes:

When are kids going to realize that when you are in the spotlight, everything you do is important. At this moment he can kiss the big $ bye-bye. Too bad. Has great arm, no brains.

Colliervol writes:

For blame, all Bray has to do is look in the mirror. Heck, if Peyton had thought it worth it, I'm pretty sure he could have made a call to Bronco mgmt and gotten them to spend that 7th round pick on Bray instead of Zac Dysart. Obviously he didn't. Maybe he'll get them to look at him as a free agent but I doubt it.

vol98champ writes:

in response to underthehill:

..if any player thinks their behavior and attitude problems are cute..take a look at what it got Bray and Rogers..

I wonder if a light bulb finally went off today for those two. What a waste of potential. I guess they could still make it, but I would rather start out with millions than just a plane ticket.

bretticus25#294810 writes:

There is a fine line between success and failure. There is a huge difference in the power of positive thinking and planning ahead. There is always beauty in contingency planning. Clearly, this is one of life's lessons, and blessed are the people who learn from others' strategic errors.

gillblog writes:

Although the undrafted free-agent route is still open to him, Bray faces no more or less than the consequences of his own decisions. Somewhere along the line somebody convinced him he had the talent to overcome any misbehavior on or off the field. Whomever that person was deserves all the blame here. He does have talent and he is capable, but only, only with serious and persistant work.
From the NFL perspective, my guess is he suffered most from a small sample size for a questionable qb prospect. It was only in his last year he even had more than 200 pass attempts. Unless he was an overwhelming break-out, Andrew Luck type qb, would any NFL scout have recommended taking a chance on him.

To me, this is sad news, but should be a cautionary tale to every young qb coming out of high school who has dreams of making it to the NFL. Absolutely nothing is guaranteed to any player anywhere at any time.

ReeseHallRelic writes:

Bray got exactly what he deserved. (Although, to be truthful, I was kinda hoping he'd be picked with the last choice: Mr. Irrelevant.)

It'd be nice to think he'll learn a lesson, but the odds are he won't. After all, he knew what he had to do with NFL scouts and front office types before the draft... and he evidently failed miserably.

At least nobody wasted a high pick on him, so Tennessee fans won't have to hear about him forever, a la Ryan Leaf.

volforeverandever writes:

Where oh where is Walt.Ole Walt said Bray was a first rounder.When I said he would be a 3rd or lower he went on many rants and in those rants I was called stupid,ignorant,a moron,imbecile,and had absolutely no football knowledge.Walt said Bray would be burning it up on Sundays.Well smart one,come talk to me now.You said on draft day I would not be here because Bray would be the first quarterback taken and I would be too embarrassed.I think we know about your football IQ and talent scouting.I guess Ron White is right.You can't fix stupid.

ivyvol writes:

The donkey will have the last bray.

pcorange writes:

Frankly, I'm pretty surprised that Bray went undrafted. I realize he has some maturity issues, but nothing he couldn't grow out of. He could definitely be a bargain for somebody as an undrafted free agent. I don't think he has what it takes upstairs to be a rookie starter, but with a couple of years under somebody like Peyton Manning he could definitely have a future.

tnvol34 writes:

Hope Bray and Rogers got the message! They both are talented, so now, I hope some teams give them a chance! GO VOLS!

cheetah-vol writes:

in response to underthehill:

..if any player thinks their behavior and attitude problems are cute..take a look at what it got Bray and Rogers..

Very true. One the one hand, maybe they both actually helped our current players in the long run by demonstrating how not to get chosen in the draft with their attitudes. On the other, it's about work ethic and not taking one's talent for granted as a one way ticket into the NFL. Wishing them well and hope they can find a way to play with the big boys someday.

OwensboroVol writes:

Bray really should have come back for that final year and worked his butt off. I don't think anyone questioned his natural talent but were concerned that he was unwilling to do the off the field work (Film study, etc.) it takes to be successful. Say what you want, but I saw him make passes that Peyton didn't have the arm to do. He never understood that if you do the off the field work, like Peyton did, you never have to make those throws because you always have the easy throws available. I wish him all the best. I think it is a shame that when something like this happens, and the kid really hasn't been a pro, that he can't apply for a hardship and be permitted to return to college football.

oldster writes:

Anyone who has ever coached knows that the single most important asset of a qb is his football IQ. Only fans who have never coached and sportswriters think that a QB's arm is the thing to be coveted at the position. The NFL just proved it with Bray. A Million dollar arm with a 1 cent brain that will not make the average of the two in football.

ReeseHallRelic writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're laughable. But understandably shocked.

Nobody but Tyler Bray to blame this on. But the thought that the newly-signed WR coach for the Dallas Cowboys would have that much gravitas as to convince 31 other teams to avoid drafting Bray is really funny.

Kid, go sell some more rabbit ears. Football evidently ain't your schtick....

vol98champ writes:

Somebody, please inform collegegrove-- that Dooley got fired. Let's cut out the arguments over the past and focus on the future.

oldster writes:

in response to underthehill:

..if any player thinks their behavior and attitude problems are cute..take a look at what it got Bray and Rogers..

And the coach that put up with so much of their acts.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Have to agree with you. It wasn't attitude or worry he would ding somebody's car in the parking lot that left Bray out. That interview with Gruden was telling.

ArmyDad writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If you are shocked then you haven't been paying attention. Draft analysts and scouts have been saying that it was a gamble for Bray to enter the draft early all along.

And who are you to determine who is and isn't a "UT fan"? Many of us have been UT fans for a long time, but we don't look at everything through orange colored glasses. Blaming this one on Dooley is way off base. Bray made his own bed with his immaturity and his quitting on his team on more than one occasion.

renegade37918 writes:

i hope all the former players from last year land somewhere its good for the school to have as many players as possible in the nfl good guys

oldster writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If you were shocked, I am shocked at you. I thought that you knew something about football. Clearly, if you think that a golden arm offsets a lack of brains, maturity and work ethic as a quarterback, you do not know as much as I thought.

The only reasons that I am "enjoying" his failure is that it fulfills my projection and will, along with Da'Rops similar situation, serve as an object lesson to someone (surely) and prevent at least one (surely) from repeating their stupidity.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

Bray really should have come back for that final year and worked his butt off. I don't think anyone questioned his natural talent but were concerned that he was unwilling to do the off the field work (Film study, etc.) it takes to be successful. Say what you want, but I saw him make passes that Peyton didn't have the arm to do. He never understood that if you do the off the field work, like Peyton did, you never have to make those throws because you always have the easy throws available. I wish him all the best. I think it is a shame that when something like this happens, and the kid really hasn't been a pro, that he can't apply for a hardship and be permitted to return to college football.

He was danged if he did, danged if he didn't. Without CP, JH, and MR to throw to, his stats would have been way down.

8inarow writes:

I cannot believe that someone didn't pick Slash! Certainly they need someone who can throw beer bottles at parked cars...

Colliervol writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

As usual, your opinion is about 1 vs 20. (That should tell you something.) I'm certain that 32 teams paid close attention to Derek Dooley. That's laughable and you are missing the point. Nothing against Bray personally. He just got a dose of the cold hard facts of life and people are pointing out the reason why. I don't applaud immaturity and poor attitude in anybody's kid and I won't start with Bray. He just got a valuable lesson if he'll learn from it.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Toddy, you made me laugh..Thx.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are actually the comical element in all this

oldster writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I have not heard that Tyran cussed his coaches as I did about Rogers. Tyran does not play QB where a brain is of paramount importance. Of course, he cannot cover me, and I am a 65 year old with an artificial hip.

madvibe writes:

from NFL.com, Here are the top players who were not selected in the 2013 NFL Draft:

Quarterbacks
1. Tyler Bray, Tennessee
2. Matt Scott, Arizona - signed by Jacksonville
3. James Vandenberg, Iowa - signed by Dallas
4. Coby Cameron, Louisiana Tech - signed by Caroina
5. Jeff Tuel, Washington State - signed by Buffalo
6. Dayne Crist, Kansas - signed by Kansas City
7. Collin Klein, Kansas State - signed by Houston
8. Ryan Griffin, Tulane - signed by New Orleans

Bray is STILL unsigned!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to 8inarow:

I cannot believe that someone didn't pick Slash! Certainly they need someone who can throw beer bottles at parked cars...

Good point, he's just as qualified as Tebow when it comes to toting a clipboard.

madvibe writes:

in response to madvibe:

from NFL.com, Here are the top players who were not selected in the 2013 NFL Draft:

Quarterbacks
1. Tyler Bray, Tennessee
2. Matt Scott, Arizona - signed by Jacksonville
3. James Vandenberg, Iowa - signed by Dallas
4. Coby Cameron, Louisiana Tech - signed by Caroina
5. Jeff Tuel, Washington State - signed by Buffalo
6. Dayne Crist, Kansas - signed by Kansas City
7. Collin Klein, Kansas State - signed by Houston
8. Ryan Griffin, Tulane - signed by New Orleans

Bray is STILL unsigned!

Ah, just signed with Miami...

oldster writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

Bray really should have come back for that final year and worked his butt off. I don't think anyone questioned his natural talent but were concerned that he was unwilling to do the off the field work (Film study, etc.) it takes to be successful. Say what you want, but I saw him make passes that Peyton didn't have the arm to do. He never understood that if you do the off the field work, like Peyton did, you never have to make those throws because you always have the easy throws available. I wish him all the best. I think it is a shame that when something like this happens, and the kid really hasn't been a pro, that he can't apply for a hardship and be permitted to return to college football.

No, what you saw Bray do was complete some passes that Peyton would not have tried due to the fact that they were the wrong choices open to him. You also saw many of those same wrong choices get intercepted at crucial times.

But you are right: there is nothing worse than wasted potential.

beartn#223846 writes:

A few thoughts: I'm guessing the interviews must have hurt the most. Several players with much bigger off the field and on the field issues were drafted, while Bray was not. Also, like any former Vol athlete or student, I wish him well. He could have played for many other schools, but he picked us and stayed after the coach that recruited him bolted after one year. My guess is that next year, we will miss his ability. Finally, from an agent's perspective, it's probably best to tell 10 rounds worth of players they will make it in the NFL, to sign as many as they can, hoping to land a few that get big contracts.

underthehill writes:

in response to oldster:

And the coach that put up with so much of their acts.

have to agree..coach has to be a parent to his players sometimes ..and Dooley failed miserably..when discipline may have helped..he made excuses for Bray and Rogers..until it was too late..frankly..I know these two got what they asked for..but I still hope both become men and be successful..

Southland writes:

lets hope for the most important thing, that these two young men get their head on straight and do good. Sorry to see this happen no one should be suprised

volforeverandever writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I saw Mike Tomlins interview after they took Landry Jones in the 5th and he said they wanted a quarterback with smarts and a good football IQ.They liked his work ethic.Well bud that counts Bray out.Bray has a good arm but that is it.Again it takes more than a good arm to make it in the NFL.The rumor is that Gruden said he had seen 12 year olds in camps that could read defenses better than Bray.He was the only QB who Gruden had to tell and do his diagrams for him.I was embarrassed to watch a Tennessee player look so dumb.This fiasco was created by Bray alone.You can't blame it on Dooley.Bray would spend no time in the film room ,he played video games instead.You call yourself the truth squad,well the truth was told when the draft was completed so wake up and smell the coffee.

lstbodeanvol writes:

in response to 8inarow:

I cannot believe that someone didn't pick Slash! Certainly they need someone who can throw beer bottles at parked cars...

how many florida QBs got drafted or start in the NFL ? same as your IQ ZERO

golfman1975 writes:

In life you have to hit bottom before you go up...maybe the NFL was sending a message to Bray.

Colliervol writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Take a closer look and I think you'll find that his LSU buddy on the Cardinals (the DB drafted last year) went out on a limb for him and is going to mentor him. Wonder why nobody stepped up for Bray? If he had stayed straight, Tyrann would have been a first round lock. His issues cost him a bunch of money. Jeez, I get tired of correcting you. When are you ever going to learn?

manniesghost1903 writes:

Tyler Bray had several problems and among them all were two football coaches, Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley. Personally, I believe if Kiffin had not bolted to USC, Bray might have been a first round draft pick. Under Derek Dooley's supervision Tyler Bray went from a promising NFL draftee to an undrafted free agent.

I am surprised the San Diego Chargers chose Manti Te'o in the second round. Perhaps I will be proven wrong but I see him as damaged goods and a wasted draft pick.

Another questionable pick was made by Tennessee Titans with the selection of Justin Hunter. He has all the tools to be a great receiver but his psyche has never ben the same since his initial injury during his freshman year. Hopefully, he will regain the confidence to give 100% on every NFL down in which he participates. However, if he doesn't, he will have a short career and the blame again falls on former head coach Derek Dooley.

Now some may say I am wrong in my harsh judgment of Derek Dooley's performance as UT Head Coach. Unfortunately, in the final analyst, I now believe Derek Dooley was unaware of all the "people person" skills and responsibilities which are necessary in dealing with young teenagers as they are trying to become young men and to be a successful head coach.

ArmyDad writes:

So, reports have Bray signing with Miami?

Tyler Bray at South Beach. Yeah, I can see that turning out really well.

rusty_shackleford writes:

Million dollar arm with a nickel head

TnMolly writes:

I'm just glad he's not at UT anymore! Embarrassing.

lstbodeanvol writes:

BRAY JUST SIGNED A FREE AGENT CONTRACT WITH THE MIAMI DOLPHINS...GOOD LUCK MAYBE 8INAROW AND LILzzGATOR OR DELTA CHARLIE WILL MOW YOUR YARD FOR YOU

OldVols68 writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No -- you are the comic....Bray was, is, and apparently always will be a brat. Just because most of us saw and see him as such does not make us NOT Vol fans. Just as others have pointed out how you are perceived does make a difference. And like it or not Mr. Bray was short on the use of his brain and long on the immature actions, and thus will pay the price. But no I do not enjoy his misfortune; just that I understand the reasons for it.

As for his football talent: there is no doubt he has a major-league arm: so did the baseball pitcher named Ryne Duren. But the guy did not always throw strikes. Well, Mr. Bray did not show very good judgment on a lot of his throws, plus (again) he showed his immaturity on and off the field all too often.

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