Here's why Vols slid in draft

If you're wondering why Tennessee three potential first-round picks -- Kelley Washington, Jason Witten and Julian Battle -- slipped to the third round of last weekend's NFL draft, Len Pasquarelli thinks he has the answer.

Writing for espn.com, Pasquarelli notes that Washington was surrounded by ''health and attitude concerns.'' The health concerns involved recent neck-fusion surgery. Pasquarelli added that several NFL teams felt Washington ''bordered on cocky'' during their interviews with him.

Perhaps that explains why Washington dropped to the first pick of Round 3, where he was tabbed by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Witten's agent, Jimmy Sexton, thought his client would go between picks 20 and 40 in the draft. Yet Witten plummetted to Round 3, as well. So, what happened?

''Witten does not play as quick as his times and isn't as solid a receiver as the Vols coaches suggested he might be,'' Pasquarelli writes.

Battle, blessed with safety size (6-3, 205) and cornerback speed (4.45), was considered a late first-round or early second-round pick, yet he lasted until late in Round 3. Pasquarelli cites ''character concerns'' as a reason for Battle's draft tumble.

Pasquarelli's article, entitled ''Prospects slip for a number of reasons,'' may be viewed at espn.com by going to Draft Central and clicking on ''Pasquarelli: Slippery Slope.''


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