KNOXVILLE – After two long nights of waiting, Luke Stocker didn’t have too much waiting to do on Saturday afternoon.
Denarius Moore needed just a little bit more patient.
The duo became the first pair of Tennessee players selected in this year’s NFL draft after going in the first half of Saturday’s four rounds.
Stocker, a 6-foot-5, 258-pound tight end, was selected with the seventh pick of the fourth round (104th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who swapped fourth-round picks and sent their fourth-round pick in next year’s draft to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Projected as one of the top three or four tight ends in the draft and a second- or third-round pick, Stocker probably expected he would hear his name called Friday. He started 38 of his 52 career games at UT and finished a senior year in which had a catch in every game with 39 catches for 417 yards and two scores.
Moore went closer to where most analysts had him tabbed, as the Oakland Raiders took the Texas native with the 17th pick in the fifth round (148th overall).
“I’m thankful for the opportunity the Raiders’ organization has given to me,” Moore said in statement to Allegiant Athletic Agency, his representation. “This is a dream come true for me and I’m excited to being my career in Oakland.”
Moore caught 47 passes for 981 yards (20.9-yard average) and nine touchdowns as a senior last fall, including a late-season five-game stretch where he averaged 131 yards per game, had two games of 200 or more yards receiving and caught a touchdown in each.
That performance earned the 6-foot, 194-pound Moore an invite to the NFL Combine in February, where he showed off the speed that makes him a deep threat by running his 40-yard sprint in 4.45 seconds.
The Vols were shut out of the first round for the first time since 2005 and didn’t have a player selected in the first three rounds for the first time since 2004.
More to come online and in Sunday's Time Free Press. Click here to follow Vols beat writer Patrick Brown on Twitter.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...