Recent NFL Drafts have given the University of Tennessee's fans reason to smile, as the team's players have become first-round fixtures. But this year's draft was better than most, as three Volunteers went in the first 15 picks.
The first to go was John Henderson, who joined the Jacksonville Jaguars with the No. 9 pick in the first round. He was followed by two teammates, Donté Stallworth at No. 13 to the New Orleans Saints and Albert Haynesworth at No. 15 to the Tennessee Titans.
Henderson took time out on Draft Day to talk with NFL.com about his former teammates and his new destination.
How do you feel about joining the Jaguars?
HENDERSON: It's great. I'm looking forward to going down there and being with a teammate of mine, Eric Westmoreland. It'll also be nice to play with (2001 first-round pick) Marcus Stroud.
How much contact did you have with the Jags the last few months?
HENDERSON: Well, my agent had a lot of contact with them. I worked out for them.
Were you surprised that your name was called at the ninth pick?
HENDERSON: Yeah, I was surprised. They called me first, and then they said it on the TV. I felt real good about it, though.
What do you know about the Jaguars' coaching staff and defensive scheme?
HENDERSON: I don't know a lot, but I know I'm going to get down there and learn quickly. I plan on getting in there and getting up to speed.
Haynesworth will also be in the AFC South, with the Tennessee Titans. How does it feel to get the chance to face off with him every year?
HENDERSON: It's going to be interesting. Just competing with him, just seeing him out there. It's also going to be nice to see Donte' Stallworth out there in the NFL, as well.
What strengths do you bring to the Jags? What areas do you want to improve in?
HENDERSON: Well, I know I'm going to work on staying low, just being able to come out of that box and explode. Once I find out what they want me to do and how they want me to do it, then that's how I'm going to do it when I get down there.
Will the Jaguars' status as a retooling team help you get more playing time right away?
HENDERSON: I hope I can go in there and make a difference. But it's all about teamwork; if we get in there and get some unity going and create a bond, we can succeed.
What does the proliferation of UT players in the first round say about the program?
HENDERSON: It shows how we work down there. We work as one, to make each other better. We always studied on film and tried to study together and do things together.
Which one of you will be the best pro?
HENDERSON: Oh, man. (laughter) I think we're all going to be the best we can be, and being Pro Bowlers one day.
Are you looking forward to anything off the field in Florida?
HENDERSON: I'm just hoping they accept me and welcome me in, being that I'm from Tennessee.