NFL draft combine invitees were announced on Tuesday and it looks like there will be four former Tennessee Vols joining the festivities in Indianapolis.
Running back John Kelly, defensive back Rashaan Gaulden, defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie and punter Trevor Daniel have each been invited to this year’s draft combine.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) February 6, 2018
Daniel is the lone senior in the group. Gaulden, Kelly and McKenzie each have a year of eligibility remaining, but they’re opting to enter the draft instead of returning to Knoxville next season.
I wasn’t surprised to see Kelly make the jump to the NFL. While he could obviously improve his draft stock by returning for his senior season, he would also run the risk of getting hurt and watching his stock plummet.
Former Vols running back Arian Foster was in a similar situation after the 2007 season. He was considered a mid to early round pick by many draft analysts after a junior season that saw him produce nearly 1,200 rushing yards. Foster, however, elected to return for his senior season. He struggled mightily under new offensive coordinator Dave Clawson and ended up going undrafted as a result.
I doubt the same scenario would occur with Kelly, but you never know.
Gaulden going pro surprised me a bit, but it wasn’t exactly shocking. He definitely has a pro skill set, but I think he could’ve been a star in Jeremy Pruitt’s defense. He should, however, end up being drafted this year.
Now as for McKenzie, that one shocked me. Maybe he wasn’t keen on playing under Pruitt. Or maybe he was going to get moved to the offensive line. No one knows for certain what the situation is there, but it seems like McKenzie was just ready to move on from the college game.
As these four former Volunteers prepare for the NFL draft combine, I decided to take a look at where the best landing spot would be for each of them.
Featured image via UT Sports