Sidekicks get picked, too

Playing alongside a more ballyhooed teammate isn't always a bad thing. Even as the sidekick in a buddy system, you can be sure that a lot of people will be watching when you do something good.

For instance, playing the defensive tackle spot opposite heralded Tennessee teammate John Henderson in 2001 enabled Albert Haynesworth to steal enough of the spotlight to be selected in the first round of 2002 NFL Draft … just six picks after Henderson.

Playing second fiddle to Cadillac Williams actually got Auburn tailback Ronnie Brown selected AHEAD OF his more celebrated backfield mate in the 2005 draft.

And Southern Cal running back LenDale White clearly has benefited from playing in the shadow of Reggie Bush. Bush is expected to be the first player picked tomorrow but White is projected to go in the first round, as well.

Likewise, former Vol Tony McDaniel surely will benefit from the notoriety of fellow defensive tackle Jesse Mahelona in this weekend's draft. Some of the pro scouts who watched Mahelona perform last fall had to notice his towering backup from time to time.

Similar benefits may await Jason Hall, who got ample opportunity to strut his stuff last fall for NFL scouts who showed up to assess fellow Vol defensive end Parys Haralson.'s Len Pasquarelli, writing in his "Tip Sheet" column, lists McDaniel as one of the "others" who could benefit tremendously from playing alongside a more heralded player.

Here's what Pasquarelli has to say about McDaniel:

Mammoth size (6-6¼, 317 pounds) and raw potential might give him more long-term upside than Vols standout tackle Jesse Mahelona, who seems to be a little overhyped by some scouts. Has some off-field issues but this is one big, powerful guy who, with the right coaching, could become a player.

POST SCRIPT: Tennessee tailback Gerald Riggs may reap some draft rewards from having his career outing (184 rushing yards) in the 2004 SEC Championship Game. Hordes of NFL scouts who were on hand to check out Auburn's Williams and Brown surely noticed Riggs running wild for the opposing team. The fact Gerald's dad was a quality NFL player won't hurt his draft stock, either.

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