Final NFL Draft score has Vandy, Tennessee deadlocked
By: By The Associated Press
Call the 2008 NFL Draft a draw. At least between Southeastern Conference and instate rivals Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
The draft concluded Sunday with three Volunteers and three Commodores selected in the draft, and each of the Volunteer State colleges had a first-round draft pick. Tennessee got bragging rights by virtue of linebacker Jerod Mayo being the first player from the state drafted when he went No. 10 overall to New England on Saturday.
But left tackle Chris Williams became the highest offensive lineman drafted ever when Chicago grabbed him with the 14th pick overall.
The only other first-round pick from a college in this state was cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the 16th pick overall to Arizona.
And that was it for the first two rounds, and nobody else heard their name called until Sunday morning when Earl Bennett, the SEC’s all-time leading receiver, was selected by Chicago with the 70th pick overall and the seventh pick of the third round.
“Me and Chris are very good friends,” Bennett said. “I called this morning and told him. He was just in bed, I don’t know what he was doing last night, but he said, ’Congratulations, let’s get ready to head to Chicago to win the Super Bowl.”’
Linebacker Jonathan Goff gave Vandy three draft picks when the Super Bowl champion New York Giants took him at No. 165 in the fifth.
Tennessee tight end Brad Cottam gave the Vols their second draft pick when Kansas City used the 76th pick on him in the third round.
The 6-8, 270-pound German-town native Cottom is a fast TE, having run the 40 in 4.63 seconds.
He started 10 of 42 games but played in only five games in 2007 because of a wrist injury.
“I’m excited to get up there and learn from Tony Gonzalez. I just think it’s a great fit for me,” Cottam said.
Quarterback Erik Ainge became the third and final Vol selected, lasting until near the end of the fifth round before the New York Jets grabbed him with the 162nd pick overall.
So much for throwing for more yards than anybody at Tennessee not named Peyton Manning or Casey Clausen.
“Honestly, it sounds cliché to say that I didn’t care what round I got drafted in,” Ainge said. “Being as competitive as I am, I wanted to be the first pick in the draft. That’s just how it works. Round regardless, I couldn’t be happier about going to the New York Jets.”
Middle Tennessee had the only other draft pick from this state.
The Dallas Cowboys drafted defensive end Erik Walden at No. 167 with the first pick of the sixth round.