John Clayton, senior writer for ESPN, noted in a recent ESPN.com column that two ex-Vols, cornerback Jonathan Wade and wide receiver Robert Meachem, were among the collegians who boosted their draft stock with good 40 times.
Here’s what Clayton had to say about Wade and the other secondary prospects:
“Speed is everything: No position in the draft is like cornerback. It's a track meet. Most teams hold off on their ratings for cornerbacks until they watch them run. Eight defensive backs ran 4.4 or under at the combine. Chris Houston of Arkansas may have jumped toward the top of the pack with his 4.32 time in the 40. Jonathan Wade of Tennessee (4.36), Leon Hall of Michigan (4.39), Josh Wilson of Maryland (4.39), Marcus McCauley of Fresno State (4.39) and Aaron Ross of Texas (4.44) set the early line for speed as the cornerback position sorts out.”
Meachem ran a sub-4.4 time that surprised some scouts. Here’s what Clayton had to say about the wideout prospects:
“The cornerbacks coming into the NFL better be fast because the receivers were like lightning at the combine. Nineteen receivers ran 4.49 or better. This is one of the biggest, most impressive groups of receivers seen in years. (Georgia Tech’s Calvin) Johnson was obviously the highlight, but (Washington State's Jason) Hill (4.32) helped himself the most. Robert Meachem of Tennessee ran a 4.39 and caught the ball very well. There could be six to seven first-round wide receivers. It's clearly one of the most impressive positions in the draft.”