Four years ago we said April of 2012 would be the last time you, as a Tennessee fan, wouldn't care about the NFL Draft. That year Malik Jackson was the only Vol on the board, taken in the fifth round (though, you know, he's done alright for himself). Things were better the next year with Cordarrelle Patterson, Justin Hunter, and Dallas Thomas going in the first three rounds and Mychal Rivera joining them in round six. But those draft picks didn't translate into success for Derek Dooley, which did translate into another coaching change, which then translated into another set of disinterested years in the NFL Draft.
Last year, when faced with the possibility and then the reality that the Vols would not have a player taken in the draft for the first time since 1963, we thought it represented the bottom again. The NFL Draft is always the last place a rebuild shows up, but we thought the Vols would be represented and represented well in 2016.
And then, unfortunately, Curt Maggitt and Marquez North got hurt. And then, fortunately, Alvin Kamara, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and Cameron Sutton all stayed in school.
So as we come to this year's draft, it seems likely the Vols will add another zero or one to this chart:
If no one takes a chance on Maggitt, North, or a Vol Pro Day workout warrior like Brian Randolph or Owen Williams, adding another zero to that list would leave us with this breakdown:
- 6.8 players taken per year from 1994 (the first year the draft went to seven rounds) to 2003
- 4.0 players taken per year from 2004-2010
- 1.7 players taken per year from 2011-2016