NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The opportunity to pursue a professional football career starts Thursday for more than a dozen Vanderbilt standouts when the NFL Draft begins in our hometown.
More than 200,000 fans are expected in Nashville for the three-day draft, which opens Thursday with first-round selections announced from a massive stage located downtown at the intersection of 1st Avenue South and Broadway.
This week opens represents the first chance at an NFL career for Vanderbilt’s draft-eligible contingent topped by cornerback Joejuan Williams, quarterback Kyle Shurmur, offensive linemen Justin Skule and Bruno Reagan, running back Khari Blasingame and defensive end Dare Odeyingbo.
Head coach Derek Mason, who is expected to make national television appearances on NFL Network and ESPN programming, looks forward to several Commodores getting selected at the draft that will take place just two miles from the Vanderbilt campus.
“This is going to be an incredible showcase for our city to the entire country and beyond, and I’m also really hopeful that it’s going be a weekend to remember for our players,” Mason said. “We have a number of talented Commodores that would make outstanding additions to any NFL roster. These guys have been productive on the field, have tremendous work ethic and are driven to succeed.”
The NFL Network, ESPN/ESPN2 and ABC will have daily coverage of the draft, which starts Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 6 p.m., and Saturday at 11 a.m.
Williams invited to participate in Day 2 of the Draft
Williams, a two-year starting cornerback who ranked among the SEC leaders in interceptions last year, has been invited to participate in the draft on Friday. That’s if he isn’t selected Thursday in the opening round.
Williams would become the second Commodore to attend the NFL Draft, joining wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who joined other elite prospects at the 2014 Draft in New York City.
Mason appearances around the draft
Mason is scheduled to make at least two national television appearances this week.
On Thursday, he will make a live appearance on ESPN’s College GameDay Show starting at 4:50 p.m. On Friday, he will appear on the NFL Network’s NFL Draft Kickoff set starting at 3:35 p.m.
Vanderbilt notes on the NFL Draft
– Nine Commodores have selected in the first round, including Wade and offensive lineman Chris Williams, who as the 14th pick by the Chicago Bears in 2008 is the most recent first-round draftee. Besides Wade and Williams, other Commodore first-round selections are QB Jay Cutler (No. 11 by Denver, 2005), OL Will Wolford (No. 20 by Buffalo, 1986), CB Leonard Coleman (No. 8 by Baltimore Colts, 1984), RB Tom Moore (No. 5 by Green Bay, 1960), RB Phil King (No. 12 by N.Y. Giants, 1958), RB Charley Horton (No. 11 by Los Angeles Rams, 1956) and RB Jack Jenkins (No. 10 by Washington, 1943).
– Quarterback Bill Wade is Vanderbilt’s only No. 1 overall pick, selected by the Los Angeles Rams in 1952. More than a decade later, Wade guided the Chicago Bears to the 1963 NFL championship.
– Since the draft was reduced to its current seven-round format in 1994, the most Vanderbilt players selected came in 2001 when four Commodores were taken: linebackers Jamie Winborn (2nd round) and LB Matt Stewart (4rd round), kicker John Markham (5th round), and defensive back Jimmy Williams (6th round).
– Last year, linebacker Oren Burks was the only Commodore drafted when he was picked by Green Bay in the third round as the 88th overall selection.
Vanderbilt Draft Picks in Last 20 Years
|Year||Player||NFL Team||Draft Selection|
|2018||Oren Burks, LB||Green Bay||3rd Round, 88th pick|
|2017||Zach Cunningham, LB||Houston||2nd Round, 57th pick|
|Will Holden, OL||Arizona||5th Round, 157th pick|
|2016||Stephen Weatherly, DE/OLB||Minnesota||7th Round, 227th pick|
|2014||Jordan Matthews, WR||Philadelphia||2nd Round, 42nd pick|
|Wesley Johnson, OL||Pittsburgh||5th Round, 173rd pick
|Andre Hal, DB||Houston||7th Round, 216th pick|
|2013||Zac Stacy, RB||St. Louis||5th Round, 160th pick|
|Ryan Seymour, OL||Seattle||7th Round, 220th pick|
|2012||Casey Hayward, DB||Green Bay||2nd Round, 62nd pick|
|Tim Fugger, DE||Indianapolis||7th Round, 214th pick|
|2010||Myron Lewis, DB||Tampa Bay||3rd Round, 67th pick|
|Thomas Welch, OL||New England||7th Round, 208th pick|
|2009||D.J. Moore, DB||Chicago||4th Round, 119th pick|
|2008||Chris Williams, OL||Chicago||1st Round, 14th pick|
|Earl Bennett, WR||Chicago||3rd Round, 70th pick|
|Jonathan Goff, LB||N.Y. Giants||5th Round, 164th pick|
|2006||Jay Cutler, QB||Denver||1st Round, 11th pick|
|2005||Jovan Haye, DL||Carolina||6th Round, 189th pick|
|Justin Geisinger, OL||Buffalo||6th Round, 197th pick|
|2003||Hunter Hillenmeyer, LB||Green Bay||5th Round, 166th pick|
|2001||Jamie Winborn, LB||San Francisco||2nd Round, 47th pick|
|Matt Stewart, LB||Atlanta||4th Round, 102nd pick|
|John Markham, PK||N.Y. Giants||5th Round, 160th pick|
|Jimmy Williams, DB||Buffalo||6th Round, 196th pick|
|1999||Fred Vinson, DB||Green Bay||2nd Round, 47th pick|
|1998||Corey Chavous, DB||Arizona||2nd Round, 33rd pick|
|Jamie Duncan, LB||Tampa Bay||3rd Round, 84th pick|
|Anthony Jordan||Indianapolis||5th Round, 135th pick|