While Antonio “Tiny” Richardson may be receiving the most attention of Vols that are expected to be drafted, it’s Ja’Wuan James who is seeing his draft stock quietly rise.
Richardson, the Vols’ starting left tackle the past two seasons, is projected as a first round pick, but James might be right there with him when it’s all said and done.
Of all the players I’ve looked at so far this #NFLDraft season, Ja’Wuan James has been the most pleasant surprise for me. I expected Day-2
— Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade) January 15, 2014
Some draft scouts have even mentioned the possibility that James could be selected over Richardson.
Chances Ja’Wuan James is selected over Tiny Richardson?
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) January 18, 2014
James is an extremely experienced offensive lineman. He started all 49 games he appeared in at Tennessee (all at right tackle). James was named to the AP All-SEC second team this past season.
The Georgia native toyed with the idea of turning pro after his junior season, but newly minted UT head coach Butch Jones was able to convince James to stay for his senior season.
There’s a chance — with a strong Senior Bowl week — that James could vault himself into the first round. He’ll have to turn a lot of heads to get there, but James possesses the type of SEC starting experience that teams love.
James could be an impact player for a team from day one, which will only increase his odds of being a high selection.
We’ll keep you updated on James’ draft stock as the NFL draft approaches.