Guide 'mocks' UT talent

Apparently, the expert analysts at Sporting News are not terribly impressed with the University of Tennessee players who will be eligible for this weekend's National Football League Draft in New York City.

Most of the sporting publications and websites doing mock drafts this spring list wide receiver Robert Meachem as a solid first-round pick, with defensive tackle Justin Harrell and offensive lineman Arron Sears pegged as late first- to early second-round selections. The Sporting News Pro Football draft guide ($7.99 on newsstands) is not nearly so complimentary toward these ex-Vols.

A two-page graphic called "Stacking The Board" compiled by the so-called "War Room Scouts" suggests Meachem is the 50th-best player available in the draft and should not be picked until Round 3.

Sears is rated No. 66 and also projected as a player worthy of third-round selection.

Incredibly, Harrell is tabbed 149th among draft-eligible prospects and pegged as a Round 5 selection. (Maybe they haven't heard that he has recovered from the torn bicep that wiped out all but three games of his senior season.)

Cornerback Jonathan Wade is tabbed 155th among all prospects and rated a fifth-round selection. Defensive tackle Turk McBride, is rated No. 202 among draft prospects and also slotted as a fifth-rounder. Wade and McBride are being projected as third-round picks in most mock drafts.

Whereas most of the Tennessee players seem to be undervalued by Sporting News, ex-Vol fullback Cory Anderson appears to be overvalued. He scarcely saw the field last fall, yet he is ranked No. 120 among all draft prospects and projected as a fourth-round selection.

Go figure.


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