Sunday, April 26, 2009

D.J. Moore still on the NFL Draft board at the start of day two — and it's not the end of the world

For those of you who are angry that D.J. Moore didn't get picked yesterday and you missed the chance to talk some trash on chat boards with Volunteer fans: chill out.

D.J. remains a great college player and could end up being a better pro than Matthew Stafford. Who knows?

He's never been a guy who enjoys talking to guys with clip boards and then running around cones while they jot down notes. Let's face it: He doesn't make a good first impression. How did a high school kid who made such an immediate impact in the SEC fall under the radar of guys like Steve Spurrier and Mark Richt?

When he's in a camp and all that matters is keeping the guy he's covering from catching the ball or catching the ball and not getting tackled, I think he'll do fine.

The NFL draft is the ultimate meat market and everybody's an expert. One minute D.J.'s a first-rounder who's 5-foot-11 and runs a 4.3 40. The next minute he's 5-foot-1 and runs a 4.9 40.

And don't forget, lots of 10-year NFL players were taken in the second day — or not at all. And this year, lots of guys who were supposed to go yesterday are still waiting for a phone call. The list includes defensive end Michael Johnson of Georgia Tech and safety Rashard Johnson of Alabama and tight end Jared Cook of South Carolina.

But what if D.J. is a bust? What if Earl Bennett never catches a pass in the NFL? Both guys would still be proof that Bobby Johnson's system of developing players nobody wants — and enabling them to compete at the highest level and contribute to a team that's starting to scare the bejeebers out of powerhouses — works. Because regardless of Vanderbilt's success, Johnson's never going to be recruiting high school players like Bryce Brown who think they're going to be the first pick in the draft in a couple of years. He's recruiting kids who want to be successful people regardless of whether they're playing sports or not. And isn't that what attracted us to Vanderbilt in the first place?

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