The five Tennessee players selected on the first day of the 2007 NFL Draft led all of college football and highlighted a weekend in which 10 former Vols now are preparing to embark on a career in the professional ranks.
Justin Harrell, who appeared in only three games last season because of a bicep muscle injury, was the first Vol taken and his selection came at the first round's midway point. The defensive tackle from Martin went to Green Bay with the 16th overall pick, matching Jason Allen's draft position one year ago to Miami.
Tennessee's second first-rounder of 2007 was wide receiver Robert Meachem, the Tulsa, Okla., product going to New Orleans with the 27th overall choice. It marked the eighth time Tennessee has had multiple first-round selections and the first since 2002 when John Henderson, Donte' Stallworth and Albert Haynesworth were chosen among the first 15 picks.
A pair of Vols also were taken in Round 2. Offensive lineman Arron Sears of Russellville, Ala., went to Tampa Bay on the third pick of the second round, while defensive lineman Turk McBride of Camden, N.J., was the choice of Kansas City with the 22nd selection of the round. Defensive back Jonathan Wade, a Shreveport, La., product, made it five Vols on Saturday when St. Louis called his name with the 21st pick of the third round.
"I am very excited about the guys who were drafted and the guys who are going the free-agent route," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "I think all of them have a chance to make significant contributions to their teams. Five drafted on the first day is a compliment to our football program and to the work ethic of those young men."
Linebacker Marvin Mitchell rounded out Tennessee's draft board when New Orleans tabbed the Norfolk, Va., native with the 10th choice of the seventh round.
Four other Vols, fullback Cory Anderson (Houston), wide receiver Jayson Swain (Chicago), placekicker James Wilhoit (Baltimore) and defensive lineman Matt McGlothlin (Kansas City), signed free-agent contracts Monday.
Tennessee's six draft selections ranked sixth nationally, trailing only Florida with nine, Ohio State with eight and Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas with seven apiece. Other SEC schools with draft selections were Auburn (five), LSU (five), Arkansas (four), Georgia (four), Alabama (three), Mississippi (two), South Carolina (two) and Mississippi State (one).
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information