Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, Off To The Pros We Go…
While the current Tennessee Volunteers have begun spring practice and are focused on adjusting to life with new head coach Lane Kiffin, thirteen former Vols were on campus Wednesday to show off their skills during UT’s Pro Day at Neyland-Thompson Sports Center.
Like many other schools, Tennessee hosts a pro day every spring for graduating seniors to showcase their skills. For many of these players, this is their only shot to make an impression on NFL scouts.
With that in mind, Tennessee’s seniors have been training hard over the last few months as the March 11th circled on their calendars crept closer and closer.
All of that training looks to have paid off for many of UT’s seniors, with numerous players going from wondering if they’d be drafted at all to thoughts of what team will take them in which round.
The biggest surprise of the day was wide receiver Lucas Taylor, who unleashed a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash. On top of that, he posted a 36 inch vertical and benched 225 lbs. 14 times. (To put that in perspective, I’ve heard that Taylor couldn’t manage more than 2 reps at that same weight at the start of the 2008 football season). With a day like Taylor just had, he all but punched his ticket to the NFL. I just hope he performs better at the next level than he did here.
Another wideout with an impressive day was the outspoken Josh Briscoe, known by most UT fans as “that kid who smiled on the sidelines while we got killed.” Well, that smiley-kid put up a 4.39 40-time, which will definitely get him some looks from a few NFL teams. And Briscoe intends on celebrating his sub-4.40 time. How, you ask? With a cheeseburger.
Robert Ayers also participated in UT’s Pro Day, but for a different reason. Ayers wasn’t out to make it into draft-day consideration… he’s already projected as a first rounder (To the Houston Texans at pick #15 according to Rivals and ESPN’s Todd McShay). With all this in mind, though, Ayers said he still wanted to come out and prove himself to the scouts who see him as a potential pass-rushing linebacker in a 3-4 scheme:
A few more notes on some of the other players who participated in the workout:
- Linebacker Ellix Wilson ran a 4.61 40-yard dash, did 23 bench-press reps at 225 pounds, and posted a 32 inch vertical jump. When asked about his thoughts, Wilson said he wasn’t ready to give up football, and believes that even if he isn’t drafted, he could still make a name for himself in the NFL through the free-agent, practice squad route.
- Another of UT’s former linebackers, Adam Myers-White posted respectable numbers as well (although his bench reps were lacking somewhat): 4.58 40-yard dash, 32 inch vertical, and 15 reps at 225 lbs. on the bench press.
- The good news didn’t stop there, either. Ramon Foster has been told by team personnel to expect to hear his name called on draft day. He expected to participate in drills on Wednesday to help with his draft day stock, but a case of strep-throat last week sidelined the former Tennessee tackle.
- Anthony Parker participated in all of the drills at UT’s Pro Day, except the bench press, where he put up 24 reps of 225 lbs. at the NFL combine. Parker participated in drills on Wednesday to help improve his combine numbers, which were impacted by a high-ankle sprain Parker suffered during Senior Bowl practice. His hard work paid off, too, as he put up a 40-time of 5.08 seconds, which is roughly two-tenths of a second faster than what’s expected of most centers/guards heading into the draft.
- As for Arian Foster, he was one of the few former Vols who didn’t make an appearance at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex. Word on the street is that he’s out in Cali working on his hands.
Here’s looking to April 25th, when we’ll get to see what NFL teams really think about our former Vols.