KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Antonio “Tiny” Richardson‘s NFL draft snub got most of the attention earlier this month, but there was another Tennessee offensive lineman who wasn’t selected.
Center James Stone signed a free-agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons after the draft. Like most free agents, his path to a roster spot is uncertain, but Stone has a handful of factors working in his favor. He’s smart, he’s versatile and he has well-respected people vouching for him.
“In one year’s time with him, I was just really impressed with how smart of a player he is,” Vols offensive line coach Don Mahoney told ESPN. “And you have to look at his value to play two positions [center and guard]. I know that’s a big deal, with how many players they carry on a roster. And again, because of him mentally being able to be such a smart player, I think there’s just a tremendous upside to him.”
Although more than a dozen Vols either worked out or signed free-agent deals after the draft, the NFL is so competitive that very few of them are likely to be rosters by the time the season starts. For many of the players in the group, getting a practice squad job would be beating the odds. Will Stone fare differently? We’ll find out.
Here are some updates on the rest of the Vols selected in the NFL draft or signed afterwards:
Currently on official NFL rosters…
Ja’Wuan James, selected in first round (19th overall) by Miami Dolphins…likely to open season as starter.
Zach Fulton, selected in sixth round (193rd overall) by Kansas City Chiefs….signed 4-year contract.
Daniel McCullers, selected in sixth round (215th overall) by Pittsburgh Steelers…signed 4-year contract.
Richardson….free-agent signee with Minnesota Vikings
Stone…free-agent signee with Atlanta Falcons
Dontavis Sapp…free-agent signee with Dallas Cowboys.
Rajion Neal…free-agent signee with Green Bay Packers
Jacques Smith…free-agent signee with Atlanta Falcons
Alex Bullard….free-agent signee with Detroit Lions
Michael Palardy…attended New York Jets minicamp.
Mo Couch….attended Dallas Cowboys minicamp
J.R. Carr….attended Washington Redskins minicamp
Corey Miller…attended Kansas City Chiefs minicamp