Nov 3, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Troy Trojans defensive back Bryan Willis (26) grabs the shirt in an attempt to tackle Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Justin Hunter (11) during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee defeated Troy 55-48. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Volunteers Pro Day: Thoughts And Notes

15 former Tennessee Volunteers worked out for scouts and personnel from nearly every NFL team on Wednesday.

Most of the attention was focused on the perceived “big three” of Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson.

Quarterback Tyler Bray has plenty of question marks surrounding him, mostly about his maturity. Bray had an up and down collegiate career, at times he looked brilliant on the field, other times not so much. Bray also had questions off the field, one notable incident had him throwing beer bottles from a balcony. Bray has proven that he has all the physical attributes, he’s 6’6″ with a big arm, to be a successful professional quarterback, but he’ll also have to prove he has the emotional maturity to lead an NFL team.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock says Bray has possibly the best arm talent in the draft. Mayock did note some issues with Bray’s mechanics, mostly his footwork. Tyler did say he understood that at times his footwork got sloppy and it was something he is working to correct. Mayock believes Bray should go in the third round, but will probably go earlier due to his strong upside.

Cordarrelle Patterson is expected to be the first Vol taken in the NFL draft, most analysts have him going in the first 20 picks. The main concern with Patterson is his lack of football experience at a major level. The other concern is that Patterson needs some work on his route running, which is something a good wide receiver coach will help develop with Patterson.

Justin Hunter, another talented wide receiver with a ton of upside, saw his draft stock fall a bit this year due to issues with drops. Hunter could easily be considered one of the most explosive wide receivers in this draft. At 6’4″ Hunter has plenty of length. He also has plenty of speed, he was clocked in the 4.44 range at the NFL combine in February. If Hunter can get a better handle on the football, he could be a tremendous value for a team in the second round.

The best receiver out of the bunch could end up being former Vol Da’Rick Rogers. Rogers has great athletic ability, size and speed. Rogers catches the ball well, blocks well and overall just knows how to play the game. The red flag with Rogers is of course his off-field behavior. At this point Rogers is saying the right things, he seems to understand why he is perceived by scouts to have attitude issues. If Rogers has his head in the right place, he could be a dominating receiver at the next level.

Who Helped Themselves At Tennessee’s Pro Day

According to Mike Mayock, the two players that helped themselves the most were wide receiver Zach Rogers and fullback Ben Bartholomew.

Rogers ran a 4.51 and impressed scouts with his pass-catching ability. Mayock said he believes Rogers will be a great mid-round value. Rogers, at 6’1″/182, could stand to add a little more bulk to his frame. Rogers showed he’s capable of running crisp routes and being a reliable receiver at the next level.

Bartholomew, the other player that Mayock said stood out, could end up being a late round pick. If he’s not drafted he should still latch on to an NFL team as a free agent. Mayock says that Bartholomew would be very valuable on special teams and would also be a good lead blocker. Bartholomew also showed good skills catching the ball.

Notable Quotes

Tyler Bray: I think I have helped myself out a lot. Most of the throws I am going to make will help me. The interviews are the biggest process for me. I think they are going well. There are a couple of teams I am talking to right now and hopefully we can remain friends and get drafted.

Tyler Bray: I got a little more zip on the ball now.

Tyler Bray: I had a lot to prove, I had some stuff in college I wasn’t happy about.

Tyler Bray: We didn’t win a lot of games while we were here.

Zach Rogers: It felt really good. Playing with these guys, they are unbelievably talented at wideout. We had a good group and we had a good showing today. Our timing was down so that was the main key and I thought we looked pretty smooth.

Justin Hunter: This is the job interview of your life, that is how you have to treat it.

Da’Rick Rogers: Leaving Tennessee was a wake-up call, I had to go to Tennessee Tech and I was humbled.

Cordarrelle Patterson: Tyler and I were throwing together all week, and we came in and worked hard together today, a lot has changed, but it’s always great to be back running around my teammates.

Cordarrelle Patterson: (Tyler) is more of a leader now.


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