Harrell taken with pick 16

Most draft analysts figured Robert Meachem would be the first University of Tennessee player picked in this weekend's National Football League Draft. Most analysts also thought Michigan's Alan Branch would be the first defensive tackle selected.

Thus, Green Bay's selection of ex-Vol Justin Harrell with pick No. 16 in Round 1 was something of a surprise. He was the first UT player taken and the second defensive tackle chosen, following Louisville's Amobi Okoye.

Harrell, a 6-4, 302-pounder from Martin, tore the bicep in his left arm in Game 2 vs. Air Force last fall but suited up and started the following Saturday against Florida. He underwent surgery shortly thereafter and missed the final 10 games of his senior season.

In the three games he played Harrell recorded 3 tackles and 4 assists, with one tackle for loss and one quarterback hurry.

The Packers obviously put considerable stock in Harrell's junior year, when he was tabbed second-team All-SEC. In 11 games that fall he recorded 21 tackles, 18 assists and 7.5 tackles for loss (including 2.5 sacks). He batted down five passes, forced two fumbles and intercepted two passes, returning one seven yards for a touchdown.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper called Harrell "a 300-pounder with great athleticism," adding: "Where would he have gone had he been healthy all year? Probably in the top 10."

Harrell was the fifth SEC player picked in today's first round. LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell went No. 1 to Oakland. Safety LaRon Landry of LSU went No. 6 to Washington, then defensive end Jamaal Anderson of Arkansas went No. 8 to Atlanta. Linebacker Patrick Willis of Ole Miss was tabbed by San Francisco with pick No. 11.

Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss was taken by Denver with No. 17, one pick behind Harrell.


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