Darrell Taylor Expected to be First Vols Player Taken in the Draft
(utsports.com) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Multiple Tennessee Vols are ready to take the next step in their football careers as the 2020 NFL Draft takes place Thursday through Saturday live on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network.
Round 1 airs beginning at 8 p.m. ET Thursday. Rounds 2 and 3 will be held Friday with a 7 p.m. start. Rounds 4 through 7 get underway at noon Saturday. Follow Vol football social media channels for exclusive content during the three-day event: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, prospective NFL Vols have had the ability to meet virtually with teams and submit video workouts.
Edge rusher Darrell Taylor is expected to the first Tennessee player off the board. Taylor, who ranked second in the SEC in sacks in 2019 with 8.5, has been projected as high as a second-round selection. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah tabbed Taylor as one of four players who are expected to go higher than originally anticipated according to multiple general managers.
One of the top 10 edge rushers available, Taylor concluded his Vol career with 19.5 sacks, which ranks 10th-most in school history. He is seeking to be the highest drafted Tennessee player since Derek Barnett went No. 14 overall in 2017.
“Right now I am in Virginia with my family and excited to share this great experience with them,” Taylor said in a VFL Films interview the day before the draft. “It still feels unbelievable to me right now, but I know I have worked hard to get to this point, so I am just cherishing every moment I have and staying happy about it and hoping for the best for my situation going into the draft.
“They (coaches) taught me so much. I learned a lot from them the last two years of my career at Tennessee. They coached me really hard and prepared me for what I’m about to go into now.”
Since the common draft era began, a total of 37 Tennessee wide receivers have been selected. Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway could add their names to that storied list this weekend. No draft-eligible wide receiver broke more tackles in 2019 than Jennings did with his 30 according to Pro Football Focus. The versatile Callaway notched 1,646 career receiving yards and 16 touchdowns – 13 through the air and three via the return game.
Other Vols who could have an opportunity this weekend include linebacker Daniel Bituli, defensive back Nigel Warrior and tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson. Any players not selected during the three-day event could sign undrafted free agent contracts.