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April 27, 2013

Seahawks pick Seymour, others sign as free agents

Vanderbilt offensive lineman Ryan Seymour became the second Commodore to be selected in the 2013 NFL Draft as the Seattle Seahawks selected the versatile blocker with the No. 220 overall pick in the seventh round.

Seymour joins the man he blocked for, Zac Stacy, as members of Vanderbilt's 2013 NFL Draft class. Stacy went in the fifth round to the St. Louis Rams.

A three-year starter for the Commodores, Seymour may be the biggest success story of Vanderbilt's coaching staff under head coach James Franklin. A all-state product out of Georgia power Camden County High in 2007, Seymour arrived at Vanderbilt as a two-star rated 250-pound defensive end prospect in the fall of 2008 before being moved to the offensive line in the spring of 2009.

The always athletically gifted lineman then emerged as a starter in 2010 under first year offensive line coach Herb Hand before becoming one of the SEC's most underrated offensive linemen as a junior and senior due to improved conditioning and focus.

Seymour concluded his career with 35 starts and showed off his versatility in 2012 with nine starts at left guard and then finishing off the year with starts at both right and left tackle due to Commodore injuries. He also played center during his time in the Black and Gold.

His play helped the Commodores average 30 points per game and win 9 games in a season for the first time since 1915. It also allowed the Commodores to go 5-3 in the ultra competitive SEC and reach back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history.

"Ryan brings tremendous versatility to Seattle's offensive line, a guy that has the ability to contribute at tackle, guard and center," Franklin said on Saturday. "He really put together an excellent senior season, both as a player on the field and teammate in the locker room. I think Ryan has a chance to play in the NFL for a long time."

"Ryan's development over the past three years has been tremendous and he's going to Seattle with a Vanderbilt degree in hand!," Herb Hand tweeted following Seymour's selection. "Ryan has the ability and versatility to be a long term player in the NFL. Can play a bunch of positions. During our SEC leading 7 game win streak, Ryan played his best football and really showed great senior leadership in our unit," Hand added.

Seymour was a standout performer at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January, displaying his length, foot quickness and strength during both practices and in the all-star game itself.

He figures to have a chance to make the Seahawks roster as Seattle has had questionable performances along its interior offensive line even with its recent resurgence under former USC head coach Pete Carroll. Seymour was one of two offensive line draft picks for the Seahawks. Northeastern State's Michael Bowie was taken later in the seventh round with the 242nd pick.

Seymour is the first Commodore offensive lineman to be selected in the NFL draft since Thomas Welch in 2010. His selection also marked the fourth time in the last five years in which Vanderbilt has had multiple NFL Draft picks.

In addition to Seymour's selection, multiple Commodores appear headed to NFL camps as undrafted rookie free agents.

Multi-year starting defensive tackle Rob Lohr announced via Twitter that he has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs while Quarterback Jordan Rodgers and cornerback Trey Wilson are headed to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Lohr, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound senior out of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, was a three-year starter for the Commodores and was quickly one of the most coveted undrafted free agent defensive tackles. The athletic defender posted over 120 tackles during his career with 32 tackles resulting in a loss, including 11 sacks. He also batted down four passes. Lohr started in the annual East-West Shrine game in January.

Rodgers, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior out of Chico, California, posted one of the best ever seasons by a Vanderbilt quarterback in 2012. The former junior college transfer passed for 2,539 yards and 15 touchdowns against just five interceptions while completing 60-percent of his passes. Rodgers was a standout at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January and was considered one of the top quarterbacks to go undrafted this weekend. He enters a Jacksonville franchise that currently has just two active quarterbacks on its roster.

Wilson, a 5-foot-11, 192-pound senior out of Shreveport, Louisiana, was one of the nation's most electrifying game-changers from the cornerback position during his two years as a starter. Wilson set school records with four interception returns for touchdowns and 291 yards in interception return yardage. He finished just one touchdown shy of tying the SEC overall record, but was the first corner to return 4 picks for scores. Like Stacy and Lohr, Wilson also played in the East-West Shrine game.

Punter Richard Kent, defensive back Eric Samuels and defensive end Johnell Thomas could also garner NFL camp invites or tryouts in the coming days.




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