Although the University of Tennessee’s season came to an end today with a disappointing 5-7 record, the roster has significant NFL talent — talent that now has a choice to make about whether to return to school or turn pro.
At the moment, the juniors on Tennessee’s roster say they’re unsure whether they’ll enter the draft.
Tennessee junior quarterback Tyler Bray might have the best arm of any passer eligible for next year’s NFL draft, although there are questions about whether he has the makeup to be a complete NFL quarterback. Tennessee junior receiver Justin Hunter also looks like a likely first-round draft pick, and junior receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and junior right tackle Ja’Wuan James could be first- or second-round picks as well. The Chattanooga news site Nooga.com reports that all four players declined to make a commitment about the draft one way or the other after today’s season finale against Kentucky.
Realistically, however, it’s hard to see why any of them would stay. Tennessee has fired coach Derek Dooley, and that means Tennessee’s juniors have no idea who the coach will be next season, or what kind of offense he might run. All of Tennessee’s juniors with NFL potential would seem likely to make the jump now. Even if they’re not ready to say so yet.