Feeling a draft

Several members of last fall's Tennessee football team are eagerly awaiting the upcoming NFL Draft but one is more excited about Wednesday's Orange & White draft.

Defensive tackle Malik Jackson will be among the seniors making the picks as the Vol roster is divided for its annual spring-closing scrimmage.

"I've been thinking about it for a few days - who I want my quarterback to be and stuff," he said. "I'm pretty excited and ready for this draft. Hopefully, I can be one of the main guys choosing."

Sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray projects to be the first player chosen. He completed 17 of 30 passes for 258 yards and four touchdowns in last Saturday's scrimmage, whereas backup Matt Simms was just 6 of 16 for 45 yards with two "pick-six" interceptions.

Jackson appears quite serious about the O&W draft. He has a well-thought out draft strategy in mind.

"I want to choose a quarterback first, then my O-line and D-line second," he said. "After that, everything will fall into practice. You've got to get the trenches done first, then everything else will follow."

Although the game is little more than a glorified practice, it represents the first opportunity media and fans will get to see the 2011 Vols in something resembling a game-type situation. Naturally, the players are hoping to put on a good show.

"I just want to come out and show the regional fans what we have to offer, just show that we're a good team, that we're going to be contenders," Jackson said. "I think we're going to have a lot of simple plays by Coach (defensive coordinator) Justin Wilcox. We'll just go out there and execute for (Head) Coach (Derek) Dooley and have a good time."

Minus three starters from last fall's front four, Tennessee's defensive line is widely regarded as an area of concern. That may provide extra motivation for the members of it, however.

"We're definitely going to come out there hyped and ready to play," Jackson said. "The whole D-line is going to be out there, balling this weekend."

Asked which young guys fans should watch for, Jackson paused thoughtfully before responding.

"Jacques (Smith) and Corey (Miller) have come around," he said. "Greg Clark has come around tremendously. Daniel Hood has been a very surprising D-lineman. He's been a tremendous help. Marlon (Walls) coming back (helps). Everybody's been getting better, so I really can't say one person. It's going to be fun to watch."

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