KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Butch Jones has had only one full recruiting cycle, but the fifth-year head coach is on the brink of producing five players selected in the first four rounds of the upcoming NFL draft, according to one mock draft.
NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter published his “5-round mock draft” on Friday, and there were Vols aplenty:
Tennessee Football in FIRST ROUND
No. 11 overall, DE Derek Barnett (New Orleans)
Tennessee Football in SECOND ROUND
No. 43 overall, RB Alvin Kamara (Philadelphia)
Tennessee Football in THIRD ROUND
No. 74 overall, WR Josh Malone (Philadelphia)
No. 75 overall, CB Cam Sutton (Buffalo)
Tennessee Football in FOURTH ROUND
No. 113 overall, QB Josh Dobbs (San Diego)
It would be the first time since 2007 that Tennessee has had five players selected in the first four rounds if those projections hold true.
The Vols held their pro day on Friday, and the aforementioned players appeared and either maintained or improved their stock, in terms of combine numbers or positional workouts.
Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, defensive end Corey Vereen, offensive lineman Dylan Wiesman and cornerback Malik Foreman entered the conversation as potential draft picks with their workouts at the pro day.
Reeves-Maybin, limited to only four games on account of a shoulder injury last season, was able to go through the combine-like drills in Indianapolis after being held out of them in Indianapolis last month.
Foreman, meanwhile, turned heads with a 4.37-second 40-yard dash that will surely lead some teams back to the film room for another look at his abilities.
Vereen showed great power on the bench press after a productive senior season that was overshadowed by Barnett’s record-breaking exploits.
Wiesman, a versatile lineman, weighed in at 309 pounds and ran a sub-5.1 time in the 40-yard dash.
The NFL draft takes place April 27-29 in Philadelphia, and it will be televised by ESPN, ESPN2 and the NFL Network.
Tennessee didn’t have any players selected in the past two drafts, and Barnett looks to be the first, first-round pick since offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James was taken 19th overall in the 2014 draft.
Charley Casserly, the general manager of the Washington Redskins from 1989 to 1999, has Barnett projected as the No. 9 pick overall.
The Vols haven’t had a top 10 overall pick since Eric Berry, in 2010.
Tennessee Outland Trophy winner John Henderson, like Barnett from Nashville, is the last Vols’ defensive lineman to be selected in the Top 10, going 9th overall to Jacksonville in 2002.