Tennessee Touts Draft-Bound Player Development

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    Tennessee’s overall strength and conditioning program has been under the microscope for the past year.

    Longtime Butch Jones strength coach Dave Lawson left the program last spring, leaving the less-experienced Mike Szerszen in charge of the program for the 2016 football season.

    That looked to work out well initially as Tennessee was a second-half team early in the season. But injuries piled up down the stretch, contributing to a disappointing finish to the season that included losses to South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

    Jones added longtime NFL strength coach Rock Gullickson this offseason, giving the Vols a nice boost in credibility and experience in that area heading into 2017.

    With at least six Vols expected to be drafted this April, the team is touting some of the development that has occurred with some of those players over the past few years with a series of tweets that gives their measurables coming out of high school compared to their combine numbers:

    When comparing their high school recruiting profiles to their NFL combine numbers, linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin grew from a 6-foot, 210-pound safety to a 230-pound outside linebacker, Cam Sutton added about 13 pounds and Derek Barnett actually lost about 10-15 pounds during his collegiate career.

    Dobbs – who was a four-year player at Tennessee – might be the most impressive example of this group. After coming in as a lean, 190-pound quarterback, Dobbs added noticeable bulk in his first few years and increased his numbers across the board.

    He’s gone from buried on UT’s depth chart to potential mid-round pick in the draft after an impressive week at the Senior Bowl and a good showing at the combine in February as well.