Sutton, North Make Early 2016 Mock Draft Appearance

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    Marquez North-1-4Less than 48 hours after the 2015 NFL Draft concluded, naturally, mock drafts have already started appearing for 2016.

    Normally we wouldn’t pay too much attention to such a ridiculously speculative concept, but there’s at least one mock draft that should catch some Tennessee fans’ eye.

    The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre put one out late Monday morning that includes not one, but two, Vols in the first round of the 2016 draft. One – rising junior cornerback Cam Sutton – isn’t shocking necessarily. He’s emerged as one of the better corners in the SEC, even the nation, over the past couple years. And while we don’t know if he’ll make the leap early, it’s a very realistic prediction to think that he could go in the first round whenever he does come out.

    Here’s what McIntyre said about Sutton, who he has projected to go to the Lions at No. 25 overall:

    25. Detroit Lions – Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee. Enters junior year as a sleeper to make the leap to star in the SEC. Scouts love his size (6-1, 190). Started all 25 games in his first two seasons.

    Two picks later, another Vol appears on the list. This one is a bit more of a surprise as rising junior Marquez North is projected to go No. 27 overall to the Buffalo Bills:

    27. Buffalo Bills – Marquez North, WR, Tennessee. The 6-foot-4 rising junior has a string of highlight reel catches and 4.3 or 4.4 40 speed. Has 68 catches in two seasons and five touchdowns.

    Few would deny that North has the physical tools that NFL teams will be looking for. Can he put it all together, and perhaps more importantly stay healthy, for a full season in 2015 though?

    Despite a few jaw-dropping plays, North’s largely been more potential than production through two years in Knoxville after coming out of Charlotte, N.C. as a raw athlete who was primarily a wildcat quarterback in high school. In two years he’s recorded 68 catches 816 yards and five touchdowns while missing a handful of games due to injury.

    Many thought he’d be due for a breakout year in 2014, but injuries and inconsistency at the quarterback position both held him back. If that breakout year comes in 2015 instead, that first-round billing could be a good call.

    McIntyre’s Full 2016 Mock Draft

    RTI’s List of 2016 Vol Draft Candidates