The final day of the NFL Draft didn’t feature as many former Tennessee players as most anticipated, but a couple of former Vols were selected in the later rounds and many more signed free agent contracts shortly afterward.
Former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray
Former UT tight end Mychal Rivera was selected by his home-state Oakland Raiders in the sixth round, and former UT defensive tackle Montori Hughes — who was dismissed from the program and finished his career at NCAA Division I program UT-Martin — was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round.
Several former Vols — including quarterback Tyler Bray, to the surprise of many — were not selected in the draft, but Bray and others quickly signed free-agent contracts later Saturday night.
Bray signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, according to an ESPN.com report that contradicted earlier reports from other outlets that he’d signed with the Miami Dolphins.
Former Vols H-back Ben Bartholomew signed with the New England Patriots, while defensive back Prentiss Waggner signed with the Arizona Cardinals and wide receiver Zach Rogers signed with the New York Jets.
Former All-SEC receiver Da’Rick Rogers, who was dismissed from the UT program and finished his career at FCS Tennessee Tech, signed a free agent deal with the Buffalo Bills.
Three former Vols — receivers Cordarrelle Patterson (first round, Minnesota Vikings) and Justin Hunter (second round, Tennessee Titans) and offensive lineman Dallas Thomas (third round, Miami Dolphins) — were selected Thursday and Friday in the first three rounds of the draft.
Here’s a recap of the Raiders drafting Rivera, courtesy of the UT sports information department.
Former UT tight end Mychal Rivera
HOME STATE SELECTION: RIVERA TO RAIDERS:
NEW YORK — Tight End Mychal Rivera was the fourth Tennessee product selected in the 2013 NFL Draft as he was taken in the sixth round by the Oakland Raiders with the 184th overall selection.
Rivera becomes the first Tennessee tight end drafted since Luke Stocker went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
The Valencia, Calif. native joins former Vol Denarius Moore on the Raiders roster as well as general manager Reggie McKenzie as Vols in the Raiders organization.
With four selections in the 2013 draft, the Vols have the most selections since six Vols were drafted in 2010.
The Vols' 334 selections stand as the seventh-most of any program. Rivera is the first Vol selected to the Raiders since Moore in 2011.
In 2012, Rivera earned SEC coaches' first-team honors, the first Tennessee tight end since Jason Witten in 2002 to do so. He also earned AP All-SEC second-team honors.
In his final year on Rocky Top, Rivera set the tight end record for receiving yards in a single-season by a Tennessee tight end with 562 yards, surpassing the Dallas Cowboys' Witten, who had 493 in 2002 with the Vols.
Rivera closed his senior season with catches in 18 consecutive games. He posted career-highs with 10 catches for 129 yards against Missouri and had five receiving touchdowns as part of his career-best 36 catches.