UT pair go high in mock draft

If the people at ESPN know their stuff, two Tennessee Vols will be taken in the first round of Saturday's NFL Draft, and neither of them will be named Jason Witten.

In a mock draft posted on their espn.com website, the ESPN experts tab former UT receiver Kelley Washington to be taken by the New York Jets with pick No. 22 in the first round. They project cornerback/safety Julian Battle to be selected by Oakland with the 31st pick in Round 1.

Here's what ESPN's John Clayton says about Washington: ''They would have preferred not taking a receiver in the first round, but the decision to take Washington was more because the top three offensive linemen have been taken and their cornerback options weren't as preferrable.''

Here's what ESPN's James C. Black says about Battle: ''Following the departure of Tony James, the Raiders are in need of nickel and dime backs. Battle could instantly compete for the third corner spot.''

Former Vol tight end Jason Witten is not listed as a first-round pick. However, Rutgers tight end L.J. Smith -- ranked below Witten in most mock drafts -- is tabbed to go to the Eagles with pick No. 30 of the first round.

Three SEC players are projected to go in the first 13 picks -- Kentucky DT Dewayne Robertson (No. 4 to the Bears), Georgia linebacker Boss Bailey (No. 12 to the Rams) and Georgia defensive tackle Jonathan Sullivan (No. 13 to the Jets).

Middle Tennessee State receiver Tyrone Calico is projected to be pick No. 28, going to the Tennessee Titans. ESPN's Len Pasquarelli describes Calico as ''a real burner,'' and notes that the Titans probably will trade down to get him.

Those wishing to view the mock draft's entire first round may find it on ESPN's NFL Draft page.


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