April 26, 2013
NEW YORK -- Offensive lineman Dallas Thomas was the third Tennessee product selected in the 2013 NFL Draft as he was taken in the third round by the Miami Dolphins with the 77th overall selection.
He joined Cordarrelle Patterson (29th overall to Minnesota) and Justin Hunter (34th to Tennessee) as the Vols had a pick in each of the first three rounds of the draft. The last time the Vols had selections in the first, second and third rounds was 2007. It is in the seventh time the Vols have had selections in the first three rounds (also in 2007, 2000, 1999, 1994, 1992, 1983).
Thomas is the 333rd all-time Vol to be selected.
"I was always interested in playing guard because we always had a little competition with the guys over could a tackle play guard," Thomas said. "The guards would get mad saying it's not as easy as you think it is but it was nothing. It's my dream to start and I hope to get in and compete and go from there."
Thomas was honored as a third-team All-American by CBSSports.com and a fourth-team selection by Phil Steele. He was also invited to the Senior Bowl.
The Baton Rouge, La., native was also a second-team All-SEC pick by the Associated Press and SEC Coaches. He helped the Vols to one of the nation's top offensive lines in 2012, playing at left guard. The Vols' offensive line allowed just eight sacks, the fewest in the SEC and fourth-fewest per game (0.67) in the NCAA.
With Thomas, Tennessee racked up 475.9 yards of offense per game to rank 20th in the nation and 315.6 yards of passing offense to list 15th overall. Tennessee had five games with 500-plus yards of total offense, the most by UT since 1997. That included a school-record 718 yards of total offense against Troy.
Thomas started the final 37 games of his college career including all 12 as a left at left guard in 2012. The previous 25 came at left tackle in his sophomore and junior season.