Tennessee ended its two-year drought of not having any players drafted into the NFL this year when six Vols were selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. But despite that drought, the Vols are still among the best in the nation at producing NFL draft picks this millennium.
According to a formula devised by Chase Goodbread of NFL.com, the Vols are the best team in the SEC at producing the “best” NFL draft picks since the year 2000. The formula awarded points for awards the players won in the NFL and were multiplied differently depending on where a player was taken.
And after all that math was calculated, the Vols finished sixth overall among every college football program and No. 1 among SEC schools.
Tennessee’s score of 115.4 points was just ahead of Alabama’s 114.4 points. Miami (205.3), Michigan (148), USC (134.5), Wisconsin (131.1), and Oklahoma (127.1) were the only teams to finish ahead of the Vols. The Vols have had 76 players drafted since 2000, which is the 10th-most by any school in that time. Their average score of 1.52 points per draft pick is the fourth-best among the top seven schools on the list.
As mentioned in a previous article on NFL.com, Jason Witten had the highest score of any Vol draft pick since 2000. Eric Berry follows closely behind him, and Albert Haynesworth, Jamal Lewis, and Jerod Mayo round out the top five Vol draft picks.
Here’s what Goodbread had to say about the Vols’ collection of draft picks since 2000:
“Jason Witten paced Tennessee’s collection of draft picks as a 10-time Pro Bowl selectee. Witten has more career yards than all but one tight end (Tony Gonzalez), and more than some fabulous wide receivers, Calvin Johnson among them. Tennessee was one of only three programs whose top five picks all totaled double-digit points, along with Miami and USC. Kansas City S Eric Berry, who ranks No. 13 among the NFL’s Top 100 Players, ran a fairly close second to Witten.”
The Vols added six more players into the league this year when Derek Barnett, Alvin Kamara, Cam Sutton, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Josh Malone, and Josh Dobbs were all drafted in the first four rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft.