For the second consecutive year, Vol fans were left without a former Vol football player to cheer for in the NFL Draft.
There was a small hope that former Vols Marquez North or Brian Randolph might end up being selected in the draft’s last round on Saturday, but there was no such luck for Tennessee once again.
The Vols had at least one player drafted for little over a half a century until the 2015 NFL Draft when no former Vols were selected. And 2016 marks the second straight season a Vol has failed to be picked in the seven-round draft.
Some will blame roster attrition or bad luck. Others will blame Derek Dooley. Whatever the reason, the Vols have had to suffer through their worst span of producing NFL talent in the modern era.
But there’s good news for Tennessee: This should be the last year the Vols have to endure a draft drought.
With seniors like Cam Sutton and Jalen Reeves-Maybin set to graduate after the 2016 season and a handful of juniors such as Jalen Hurd, Derek Barnett, and Alvin Kamara who are likely to declare for the NFL early, the Vols should have a large number of players drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Plus, Vol fans are likely happier about the trio of Vols (Sutton, Reeves-Maybin, and Kamara) who elected to come back to Tennessee in 2016 rather than declare early than they are about going another year without a player drafted.
It has truly been a rough era for both the Vols and Vol fans, and that was reflected in the number of former Vols that have gone on to the NFL in recent seasons. But the future is a bright one, and with some talented upperclassmen and bevvy of highly-rated underclassmen on Tennessee’s roster, it should be a long time before the Vols have to worry about not seeing a former player get selected in the NFL Draft.