Dore seniors await NFL draft

April 25, 2018

Burks Bio | Duncan Bio | Ferguson Bio | Herndon Bio | Lealao Bio | Marcus Bio | Openshaw Bio |
Rivers Bio | Scott Bio | Sherfield Bio | Smith Bio | Sypniewski Bio | Tarpley Bio | Webb Bio |
White Bio | Woods Bio | Wynn Bio

The opportunity to pursue a professional football career starts Thursday for 17 Vanderbilt standouts when the NFL Draft begins in Dallas.

The three-day draft, which opens Thursday with first-round selections, is the first chance at an NFL career for running backs Ralph Webb and Dallas Rivers, wide receivers C.J. Duncan, Caleb Scott and Trent Sherfield, tight end Nathan Marcus, defensive linemen Nifae Lealao, Jay Woods and Jonathan Wynn, linebackers Oren Burks and Emmanuel Smith, defensive backs Tre Herndon, Ryan White, Taurean Ferguson and Arnold Tarpley III, placekicker Tommy Openshaw and snapper Scott Sypniewski.

The draft-eligible Vanderbilt players include Webb, the leading rusher in team history, the versatile Burks and Sherfield, who was one of several Commodores to impress NFL scouts at Vanderbilt Pro Day on March 18.

Head coach Derek Mason looks forward to multiple Commodores having their names announced at the draft.

“There’s a lot of talented Commodores available in this draft that would make great additions to any NFL roster,” Mason said. “These men were very productive on the field, including some who set a new standard for the program. They are blessed with tremendous work ethic and driven to succeed, on and off the field.”

Most draft analysts believe Burks, a two-time captain who played safety and linebacker in a four-year starting career, will be the first Commodore selected in the upcoming draft. Burks, from Fairfax Station, Va., set career-highs in 2017 with 45 solo tackles and seven tackles for loss, then impressed scouts at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in late January and the NFL Combine in early March.

Webb, from Gainesville, Fla., enters the draft off one of the most productive careers ever by a Southeastern Conference running back. A 49-game starter, Webb smashed virtually every team rushing record, finishing his career with 4,173 rushing yards, 32 rushing touchdowns, 35 total touchdowns and 16 games of at least 100 rushing yards.

Sherfield, from Danville, Ill., earned the respect of coaches and teammates for his tremendous work ethic. A three-year starter, Sherfield finished his career as the Commodores’ No. 8 all-time receiver with 136 receptions and 1,869 receiving yards. He also tallied nine career touchdown catches.

Two Commodores were selected in the 2017 Draft: All-America linebacker Zach Cunningham (Houston, 2nd Round) and Will Holden (Arizona, 5th Round). Both Cunningham and Holden ended their rookie seasons as NFL starters.

NFL Network, FOX Sports and ESPN will start draft coverage starting Thursday at 7 p.m. CT. The networks will start coverage of Rounds 2-3 Friday at 6 p.m., and Rounds 4-7 Saturday at 11 a.m.

Vanderbilt Notes on the NFL Draft

• Quarterback Bill Wade is Vanderbilt's only No. 1 overall pick. He was selected first overall by the Los Angeles Rams in 1952. More than a decade later, Wade guided the Chicago Bears to the 1963 NFL championship.

• 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).

• 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: LB Jamie Winborn (2nd round), LB Matt Stewart (4rd round), PK John Markham (5th round), and DB Jimmy Williams (6th round).

• Six Commodores is the most ever taken in a single draft. It happened in 1956 and 1959, when the draft extended beyond 30 rounds.

Vanderbilt Draft Picks in Last 20 Years
Year Player NFL Team Draft Selection
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



Proud Sponsors of Commodore Athletics