Thursday, April 8, 2010
Berry, Williams could be SEC's top picks
By ESPN.com staff
ESPN's NFL draft gurus, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, have unveiled their latest mock drafts , and there's a chance that former Tennessee teammates Eric Berry and Dan Williams could be the top two SEC players to be selected in this year's draft.
Kiper has Berry going No. 5 overall to the Kansas City Chiefs and Williams No. 12 overall to the Miami Dolphins. McShay has Berry going No. 6 overall to the Seattle Seahawks and Williams No. 7 overall to the Cleveland Browns.
The Vols haven't had two players go in the top 10 picks of the draft since offensive tackles Charles McRae and Antone Davis went Nos. 7 and 8 in 1991.
The last time two SEC defenders from the same team went in the top 10 picks of the draft was 1993 when Alabama defensive ends John Copeland and Eric Curry went Nos. 5 and 6.
So in retrospect, Tennessee might not have been hurting for talent last season nearly as much as former coach Lane Kiffin repeatedly claimed the Vols were.
The other SEC player projected to go high in this year's draft is Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain. Kiper has him going No. 15 to the New York Giants, and McShay has him going No. 11 to the Denver Broncos.
Rounding out the SEC players, Kiper has Florida cornerback Joe Haden going No. 13 to the San Francisco 49ers, Florida center/guard Maurkice Pouncey No. 18 to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson No. 24 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
McShay also has Pouncey going No. 18 to the Eagles, Haden No. 20 to the Houston Texans, Alabama nose guard Terrence Cody No. 28 to the San Diego Chargers and Jackson No. 30 to the Minnesota Vikings.
Alabama hasn't had three first-round selections since 1993 when Copeland, Curry and safety George Teague all went in the top 29 picks.
In fact, until offensive tackle Andre Smith went No. 6 overall in last year's draft, the Crimson Tide had gone eight straight years without producing a first-round pick.
Needless to say, that drought is over.