Draft expert analyzes Vols

Some mock drafts have Jason Allen going as high as the No. 12 overall pick in the NFL draft. Others have him going early in the second round.

Mike DeTillier, draft analyst from South Louisiana, projects Allen to go in the third round.

Why such a vast difference? Injury and attitude.

``Jason has first-round talent,'' Detillier said of the former Tennessee defensive back, ``and I'm not saying he won't go in Round One. But would you be willing to spend a first-round pick on a player coming off a major hip injury and who has had two shoulder injuries, one on each side?

``When I ask myself that question, if I were a general manager, I would say no.''

DeTillier said he's been told some NFL teams have medically cleared Allen, while others have red-flagged the cornerback-safety.

Some have recovered from a dislocated hip. But it ended the career of Bo Jackson. And Deon Grant, a former Vol safety, hasn't been the same NFL player since his hip injury.

``I had one agent tell me, `Listen, I'd just as soon have a client coming off major knee surgery than a hip or bone injury, which is much more severe,'' DeTillier said. ``That's the reason I don't have Jason as high as some others.''

There's another reason.

``One scout told me Jason is like a Philadelphia lawyer – he knows everything about everything,'' DeTillier said. ``He's been a little aloof. That will be a negative come draft day, I don't think there's any doubt.

``But his workouts, it's amazing how quickly he jumped up the draft board. It certainly answered some questions.''

Allen's most eye-popping performance: a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash.

DeTillier thinks two other former Vols will be first day picks. He projects defensive end Parys Haralson and defensive tackle Jesse Mahelona to be taken in the third round.

DeTillier called Haralson a ``pass-rusher deluxe who comes around the corner quick and knows how to use his arms and hands to free himself from blockers.'' DeTillier said Haralson did not have good workouts and that's he's a bit undersized to play end in the NFL. But he sees Haralson as a disruptive player.

``I think Parys has a chance to be a stellar NFL performer,'' DeTillier said. ``I think he'll be a better NFL player than he was a college player.''

DeTillier thinks Mahelona can be productive if he plays in the right scheme.

``You look at teams in the NFL playing gap-type alignments – Tampa Bay, Chicago, Indianapolis,'' DeTillier said. ``More and more, teams are looking for very disruptive, smaller, quicker, inside presences that can get a good pass rush and run the field well. That's what Jesse does.

``I like his ability to flow to the football. He's a solid inside pass rusher and he's very disruptive in clogging up inside running lanes. He'll be a solid player in the NFL.''

DeTillier thinks linebacker Kevin Simon will be a fourth or fifth round pick.

``I love his attitude,'' DeTillier said. ``Kevin is a really good athlete, an instinctive player, a hard-hitting guy and when he's healthy, he's a productive player. His lack of size and the knee injuries will drop him into day two. I just hope he stays healthy because when he was healthy, he was one heckuva player for the Volunteers.''

Injuries have taken their toll, however. Simon, who said he ran a 4.4 in high school, ran a 4.59 for NFL scouts.

Detillier likes the all-around skills of linebacker Omar Gaither.

``I think he's one of the most underrated players in the draft,'' DeTillier said. ``I think the world of Omar. I think he'll have a much better pro career than college career. He's got good size, good foot speed, he roams the field extremely well from side to side, he's got the range, he's got quick diagnosis skills and he's very instinctive.''

Gaither's only drawback: Bad hands.

``He would have had 30 interceptions at Tennessee if he'd learned how to hold onto the ball better,'' DeTillier said.

Gaither will be a late third to early fourth round pick and some team will be ``very lucky to get him,'' DeTillier said.

Offensive tackle Albert Toeaina has lost from 360 to 320 pounds, going on a diet designed by a nutritionist in California. Toeaina said he's been asked about playing defense. DeTillier said Toeaina needs to stay on offense.

DeTillier called Toeaina a ``devastating run blocker'' who has shown flashes of being dominant, but hasn't been consistent.

``He's not the greatest athlete in the world, and there's always the concern about his weight and conditioning,'' DeTillier said. ``If he keeps his weight down, he's got a chance to be a good NFL player. He's got the talent to play, no question.''

He projects Toeaina to go in the 6th or 7th round.

DeTillier's comments on other Vols:

Guard Rob Smith: ``If I was in a fight, I want him with me. I've got a chance to survive. He's a tough guy, technically strong, and versatile. He's not the greatest athlete in the world, but I've seen a whole lot of guys similar to him play a long time in the NFL. I like his blue-collar, get-it-done type attitude.'' Round: five or six.

Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel: ``He's a tease player. When he came out (of high school) people were comparing him to John Henderson, but it never happened. He has the size and athletic skills but he's never been able to turn it on as a football player. His off-field problems will downgrade his status. He's a player who would have been better suited to return to Tennessee. He looks great coming off the bus but he doesn't make a lot of plays on the field.'' Round: seven or free agent.

Gerald Riggs Jr.: ``He's a question mark player but he has the talent to be a good NFL player. Unfilled potential.'' DeTillier, in his draft book report, said Riggs runs too tentatively at times, is not a good blocker, goes down too easily and doesn't appear to have the desire to block. Round five or six.

Receiver Chris Hannon: Round seven.

Offensive guard Cody Douglas: Round six or seven

Defensive end Jason Hall: Round seven or free agent.

Linebacker Jason Mitchell: Free agent.

Receiver C.J. Fayton: Free agent.


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