I don't think Simmons or Ingram is some kind of franchise savior. Simmons is a great fit as a 4 in the modern NBA though because he can guard inside and on the perimeter, rebound, handle the ball like a guard, and score inside. Even if he never develops a reliable jumper, he is still going to be a very valuable player. I see him as a better version of Draymond Green who can create offense on his own much better than Green.
These are the school's prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft by status * - denotes 2014 prospect ** - denotes 2015 prospect.
This page was last updated Feb. 16, 2013. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Cordarrelle Patterson*, WR, Tennessee
Height: 6-3. Weight: 200. Projected 40 Time: 4.40. Projected Round (2013): 1-2. 2/16/13: Sources told WalterFootball.com before the season that Tennessee had a great third receiver behind Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers. That receiver was Patterson, and after Rogers was kicked off the team, Patterson took his place as the starting X (split end) receiver.
The junior college product showed off his elite speed and explosiveness when he opened the year by beating David Amerson for a 41-yard score on a go route straight down the field. Patterson also took a carry for a 67-yard touchdown later in first quarter. He had six receptions for 93 yards and a score against the Wolfpack.
Patterson totaled 46 receptions for 778 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. He ran the ball for 308 yards and three scores, too.
Patterson is very fast and explosive. He is raw, but filled with potential and could become a first-round pick because of his dynamic skill set.
Dallas Thomas, G/OT, Tennessee
Height: 6-5. Weight: 308. Arm: 32. Hand: 10 3/8. Projected 40 Time: 5.15. Projected Round (2013): 1-2. 2/9/13: The Volunteers moved Thomas to left guard for 2012 and that looks like his best position for the NFL given his body type. He was excellent in the first game versus N.C. State in run blocking and in pass protection.
Thomas continued that in SEC play. His pass protection for Tyler Bray was strong while being an effective ground blocker. Thomas played well against Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi State. He had some good battles against Georgia and massive defensive tackle John Jenkins.
Thomas could use another 10-15 pounds of bulk for the next level to move linemen in the ground game. He has the frame to add the weight, and he looks like a quick starter in the NFL.
8/23/12: Thomas is an extremely experienced left tackle who should enter the NFL having been as battle-tested as a tackle can be coming into left tackle. He had a quality 2011 season protecting the quarterback. Tennessee allowed just 18 sacks (1.5 per game) the third lowest total in the SEC. Thomas needs to become more consistent, but if he has a strong season protecting quarterback Tyler Bray, he could move into first-round consideration.
Justin Hunter**, WR, Tennessee
Height: 6-4. Weight: 200. Projected 40 Time: 4.48. Projected Round (2013): 1-3. 2/16/13: Hunter seemed to be gradually regaining his speed and explosiveness following his 2011 knee injury. He totaled 73 receptions for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns this year. Hunter played better in the second half of the season, including massive games against Troy and Missouri. He should become more of a deep threat again once he gets further removed from his injury. His combine 40 time will be very important.
8/17/12: Hunter looked poised for a mammoth season last year, posting 16 receptions for 302 yards and two scores in the first two games of 2011. However against Florida, on a routine 12-yard catch early in the third game, Hunter went down with a torn ACL following a leaping reception. It was a surprising injury as he did not take a shot to the knee, or have another player fall into his leg in a manner that typically causes knee ligament tears.
Prior to the injury, Hunter looked like a truly rare receiver who is extremely tall, but has the speed of a burner wide out. He had 16 receptions for 403 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman in 2010.
Hunter is healthy and ready to go in 2012. He played in the Volunteers' full-contact scrimmage without incident. Hunter will match up against the top cornerback in the nation in North Carolina State's David Amerson in Tennessee's first game of the season . If Hunter can regain his pre-injury form, he could be a first-round pick in 2013 or 2014.
Tyler Bray*, QB, Tennessee
Height: 6-6. Weight: 210. Projected 40 Time: 4.82. Projected Round (2013): 2-3. 2/16/13: Bray had a bunch of uneven games in 2012. He was repeatedly hurt by dropped passes, but also demonstrated some shaky decision-making. The junior completed 59 percent of his passes this season, collecting 3,612 yards, 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Bray had a great start to the year with a huge game against N.C. State. He targeted and abused the nation's then top cornerback, David Amerson, with two long touchdown passes. Bray was 27-of-41 for 333 yards and two touchdowns versus the Wolfpack. He struggled against Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi State, and was even benched versus Vanderbilt. Bray had huge performances against South Carolina, Troy and Missouri.
Bray needed more development before going to the NFL, but decided to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
8/16/12: Bray (6-6, 210) completed 59 percent of his passes as as sophomore in 2011, totaling for 1,983 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. He had a hand/thumb injury that caused him to miss five games and hurt him down the stretch. Bray completed 55.8 percent of his passes as a freshman for 1,849 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Bray has all the physical tools to be a first-round quarterback, and before the hand injury, made progress to improve his accuracy compared to his freshman season. He needs to become more accurate and a better decision-maker in 2012. Durability is another concern that has to be addressed this season.
This summer, Bray gave his stock a hit with a couple stupid, off-the-field run-ins. Neither incident was anything major, but they illustrate a general lack of maturity. His own head coach said Bray needed to grow up and become a leader. Various quarterbacks have been downgraded by maturity concerns, so he needs to clean up his act.
Prentiss Waggner, CB/S, Tennessee
Height: 6-2. Weight: 185. Projected 40 Time: 4.58. Projected Round (2013): 3-4. 1/31/13: Overall, Waggner played decently in 2012. He started strong against N.C. State and held his own versus Georgia. Waggner totaled 48 tackles, four passes broken up, one interception and one forced fumble this year.
9/1/12: Waggner has played both cornerback and safety for Tennessee. He totaled 48 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble and seven passes broken up last season. Waggner played safety for first six games but played cornerback for the final six. He will probably play corner as a senior.
Waggner had 57 tackles with five interceptions and three forced fumbles as a sophomore. He was selected as an All-SEC Second-Team pick for his 2010 season. Waggner played well as a center fielder in the Volunteers' defense and displayed good instincts. He could be a corner/safety tweener for the NFL.
Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee
Height: 6-3. Weight: 237. Arm: 32 1/8. Hand: 10 1/4. Projected 40 Time: 4.70. Projected Round (2013): 4-5. 2/9/13: Rivera is a good receiving tight end who is quick and athletic. Tennessee spread the ball around between all its play-makers, but Rivera still stood out with a strong 2012 campaign. The senior caught 36 passes for 562 yards and five touchdowns. He had a monster game against Missouri with 10 receptions for 129 yards with a touchdown.
Rivera hauled in 29 passes for 562 yards and five touchdowns in 2011. For the NFL, he should add some more strength and develop his blocking technique.
Rivera showed off good receiving ability at the Senior Bowl. He could be a sleeper who turns into a nice contributor in the passing game in the NFL.
Darrington Sentimore, DT, Tennessee
Height: 6-2. Weight: 288. Projected 40 Time: 5.03. Projected Round (2012): 6-FA. 1/30/13: Sentimore played just one season at Tennessee, but he flashed some pass-rushing ability with four sacks. Still, he only had 18 tackles on the season. Sentimore was a backup at Alabama in 2010 and 2009 prior to landing in Knoxville. He played in the junior college ranks during 2011. Sentimore definitely should've returned to school rather than enter the 2013 NFL Draft.