Tennessee Pro-Day

Teams Show Interest In Whitten

Today is the day where former Tennessee players are able to run, catch, bench, jump and all the other exercises that go with preparing for the NFL Draft. There were three Vols that had an opportunity to be first round players going into Draft day and they all performed well under pressure. Nick Grinell of Inside Tennessee gives us an in-depth look.

Jason Witten, who was quiet possibly the highest regarded of all Tennessee's pro prospects, had a very solid day in front of the "NFL eyes." Witten ran a solid 4.62 40 time, which is by far his best since enrolling at Tennessee three years ago. Witten had commented going into his workouts in January that he needed to get his 40 time up. Jason also benched pressed 225 pounds 28 times. His 40 time and bench display will set very well for him over the next few weeks.

Witten said the main interest seems to be coming from the San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and the New Orleans Saints. Interestingly Saints head coach Jim Haslett was in Knoxville for the second straight year. Last spring, he used his 13th pick to select Tennessee receiver Donte Stallworth. Witten smiled very big when asked if he would like to line up inside his old teammate down in the Big Easy next season. "That would be great for me. They have a group receiving corp, a great running back in Deuce (McAllister) and a great quarterback in (Aaron) Brooks. There is only one ingredient that they need and that is a tight end," Witten said after his timing session. "I would be real excited to have that opportunity and go in and show them I can play right away."

Kelley Washington was another former Vol that had a lot to gain by his performance today. Kelley ran a 4.41-4.42 in the 40. "I should've ran a high 4.3," Washington said after his timing session. "They (NFL scouts) expected me to run in the 4.4 range, so I didn't really surprise them I don't think." He seemed to think he was going to run a quicker time, but said it didn't surprise him. Washington did manage to bench press the 225 limit 18 times. Washington was measured at 6'24 and 215 pounds. Kelley had a solid 39 inch vertical jump. "I felt I had great broad jump (39 inches) and vertical jump. Hopefully they got a good view of what I can do." He said he really doesn't know which teams have a greater amount of interest in him at this point. Former Vol Donte Stallworth weighed in on Kelley's day. "He ran great routes today and caught the ball very good," Stallworth said this afternoon. "You know he is just a second year player and that is scary that he has that much more growing to do. He's big, he's got good speed and he has good hands, so I just hope he will get with the best team for his situation."

Defensive back Julian Battle measured in at 6'21 and weighed in at 204. In the 40, he ran a low 4.4 and a high of 4.47. The Buffalo Bills, no stranger to drafting Tennessee players, seem to be looking at Julian as a corner prospect. There is a varied opinion on whether he will be a corner or safety at the next level. Today, Battle did a great job on his side-to-side work in front of the scouts and appears like he will be drafted as a corner.

Other notable notes: Defensive tackle/end Demetrin Veal did very well in a drill where you have to fend off a scout who is supposed to keep his hands on you constantly. Veal drew a round of applause from many after going longer and harder than anyone else did today in that particular drill. He also seemed to have a better effort than NFL starters Albert Haynesworth and John Henderson had last year in Pro Day. Vol receiver Leonard Scott also got some applause after making a nice leaping catch behind his body. Scott and Veal both may have raised their draft value today. Scott definitely did not hurt his status, but Veal may have strongly helped himself.

There were several former Tennessee players in attendance today. Current NFLers Stallworth, Darwin Walker, Eric Westmoreland and Andre Lott were all there supporting their old teammates. Stallworth looked like he was playing the role of boxing manager while helping Witten, Washington and Scott in receiving drills. It is crucial that their hands stay dry while catching the ball and Donte was helping his former teammates with tips on bettering their performance.

Current Washington Redskin quarterback Patrick Ramsey. Witten and the other wide receivers commented on how lucky they were to have a current NFL QB throwing the ball to them. It could be that the Redskins are interested in Kelley Washington or possibly Witten.

Here are some other weigh-ins that are to note:
DT Rashad Moore- 6'33, 321
OT Will Ofenheusle- 6'75, 307
WR Leonard Scott- 5;10, 185, 4.28 in the 40
DL Demetrin Veal- 6'23, 286, 25 reps of 225 on bench press
DE Omari Hand- 33 reps of 225 on bench press
LB Keyon Whiteside- 5'11, 224, 4.64 in the 40, 27 reps of 225 on bench press
CB Willie Miles- 5'10, 180, 4.42 in the 40, 4.12 in the 20-yard shuttle
DT Aubrayo Franklin- 6'13, 304, 17 reps of 225 on bench press

Courtesy of Inside Tennessee

 

 

 

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