Round 1 NFL and NBA picks

There's a chance that Tennessee will hit the daily double this year by having a basketball player (Chris Lofton) and a football player (Jerod Mayo) taken in Round 1 of the 2008 NBA and NFL Drafts, respectively.

Lofton was projected as a Round 2 pick following his junior year but elected to return for the 2007-08 season. The sharp-shooting guard got off to a slow start as a senior this year but still could sneak into the first round of this June's NBA Draft if he can put together a strong finish. Heading into tonight's game with Florida, he has drained 49 percent of his 3-point attempts over the past five games and has scored 20 points or more in four consecutive games.

Mayo, a rugged 6-2, 230-pounder with the speed and instincts to be an outstanding pro, saw his first three years at UT hampered by an assortment of injuries. He showed what he can do when fully healthy last fall, however, leading the Southeastern Conference with 140 tackles. If he performs well at the upcoming Combine workouts, he could work his way into Round 1 of this April's NFL Draft.

If Lofton AND Mayo prove to be first-round picks, it will be only the seventh time in history the Big Orange has accomplished this feat.

The first time it happened was 1968, and two centers were involved. Bob Johnson was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals with pick No. 2 in the NFL Draft, then 7-footer Tom Boerwinkle was pick No. 4 by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Draft.

The next time was 1977. Tailback Stanley Morgan – projected to play wide receiver – was taken by the New England Patriots with pick No. 25. Shortly thereafter, Bernard King (pick 7, New Jersey Nets) and Ernie Grunfeld (pick 11, Milwaukee Bucks) were first-round selections in the NBA Draft.

The third time was 1980. Defensive back Roland James was pick 14 of the New England Patriots, then forward Reggie Johnson was pick 15 of the San Antonio Spurs.

Two Vols were first-rounders again in 1983. Wide receiver/return specialist Willie Gault was pick 18 of the Chicago Bears. Months later, forward Dale Ellis was pick 9 of the Dallas Mavericks.

After a 10-year hiatus, Tennessee produced first-rounders in both sports again in 1993. Defensive end Todd Kelly was tabbed by the San Francisco 49ers with pick 27, then guard Allan Houston was pick 11 by the Detroit Pistons.

Nine years passed before the Vols showed up in Round 1 of each draft again. That was 2002, when defensive tackle John Henderson (pick 9 by the Jacksonville Jaguars), wide receiver Donte Stallworth (pick 13 by the New Orleans Saints) and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (pick 15 by the Tennessee Titans) were first-round NFL selections. A couple of months later, forward Marcus Haislip was taken by the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks with pick 13.


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