We answer your questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“What’s the likelihood that Vol fans who travel to the Pitt game in five years can see Dobbs start the same weekend?” – Doug
Daniel: I’ll give you about 25%. Obviously the Steelers would need to be in town, so you’re starting off with about a 50% chance, and then I think there’s about a 50% chance of Dobbs being the starting quarterback at that point. I’m going to assume Big Ben is gone by then. Landry Jones is an option, though Steelers fans don’t seem to be too high on him. So I think it’ll probably be Dobbs, or if they’re not impressed with him, then they will have drafted or traded for another quarterback at that point.
Will: Love this question. I think it will take some time, but Joshua Dobbs will beat out Landry Jones for the backup role behind Big Ben. I’d give him a 60% chance of being the starter in five years. At age 35, Roethlisberger probably has three or four good years left in him. The only way Dobbs isn’t the starter in 2022 is if Roethlisberger continues to play at age 40.
Nathanael: I’m going to go lower than both Daniel and Will here and say about a 5% chance. Not because I doubt Dobbs’ ability to be a starter at that point, but because, as Daniel said, you’d have to have the Steelers in town at the same time the Vols are, which would be a low percentage anyway in my opinion. But I’m under the impression Dobbs will be prime trade bait for the Steelers in a few years for a team desperate for a backup or emergency starter, and they’ll deal him. I don’t see Dobbs still in Pittsburgh in five years.
“If you could choose any player from another team’s roster to join the Vols before this fall, who would you pick and why?” – Andrew
Daniel: I know Tennessee has some good options at quarterback, but right now I’m taking Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. He’d make everybody in this offense better, and I think he’d give Tennessee the best chance to win the East in 2017. I think Sam Darnold might be the best quarterback in college football next year, but Jackson would be a better fit for Tennessee. Another good choice would be to take the best player (maybe Nick Chubb or Antonio Callaway) from Georgia or Florida. That not only gives UT a stud, but also weakens an SEC East foe.
Will: Another awesome question. I think Lamar Jackson is a great pick, but I’d go with Antonio Callaway or Saquon Barkley. Callaway’s presence would make Florida much more beatable, and add depth to a young group of receivers. Barkley is perhaps the best running back in the country coming into the season. He’d be fantastic running behind UT’s veteran O-Line. I think LSU OLB/DE Arden Key would be fantastic as an edge rusher, making that matchup with the Tigers a bit earlier.
Nathanael: It’s Lamar Jackson, and it’s not even close in my opinion. I’d rather have him than anyone else by a country mile. The QB position affects so much of the game, and he’s such a game-changer. The Vols are a great/elite quarterback away from begin a legit dangerous team even despite the questions they have, and Jackson would be perfect for this team.
“Tee Martin…does he stay out west or does he come south and what would be a better fit for him?” – @JC59049
Daniel: I think, assuming things go as well as they should with Darnold next year, that Martin will have a few head coaching opportunities and he should just take the best one. He’s been successful in several different regions of the country, so I think he could do it anywhere. I’ll be interested to see if he’s on UT’s list should the Vols be in the market.
Will: Martin will be able to pick his coast as a coordinator or head coach next fall. He’s shown that he can recruit out West. I think he’s become more comfortable out there, and would be an excellent fit as a head coach in a smaller school in the WAC or Mountain West. He’ll certainly have plenty of opportunities given the way his offense at USC has evolved.
“Should Three Six Mafia do a remix of Rocky Top? Since the answer is clearly yes; should BevDav twerk in the video?” – @neylandmafia
Daniel: Yes, and UT should play it on third downs. That would throw off the opposing offense pretty quickly.
Will: Absolutely. Can’t think of a better way to give 100,000 people nightmares.
Nathanael: This is by far the best third down song and video suggestion I’ve ever seen. Talk about a distraction. The opposing players, coaches, and fans would be stunned.
“How would you view the season differently if all the juniors (Malone, Barnett, Kamara) stayed?” – @BlazeKeylon
Daniel: Those guys would be worth at least a win or two and would put UT much more in the conversation for the SEC East, though I would stop short of calling the Vols the favorite in the East at that point.
Will: The Vols would be the SEC East favorites once again. But without a proven quarterback throwing him the ball, I’m not sure Josh Malone would match his numbers from last season. It would help, but wouldn’t be a monumental difference to me.
Nathanael: The return of Barnett alone would make me feel so much better about this defense. You would be guaranteed no less than 8 sacks by just one player, but you’d be more likely to get 10-12 from him alone. Throw in Malone and Kamara on offense, and I would make them the SEC East favorites. Unfortunately for Butch Jones and the Vols, they’re all in the NFL now.
“However experienced he may be, does Shaq Wiggins take on a leadership role out of the gates or does he have more to establish as a transfer?” – Hunter
Daniel: I don’t know much about his personality, so it’s tough to say, but I think in most cases a guy coming in to compete for a starting job at cornerback would need to kind of keep his head down and win his teammates over before taking on too much of a leadership role.
Will: For me, he’s going to have to take over the leadership role out of the gates. I think given his experience and talent, he needs to be vocal in a room of players who struggled last season. His perspective will be vital to help that group grow up.
“John Cena vs Dwayne the Rock Johnson in a taco eating contest, who ya got?” – @UmbrAndrew
Daniel: Arian Foster
Will: The real Rock — Gullickson — would school them all.
Nathanael: Since Daniel stole the perfect answer, I’ll actually answer the question: It’s the Rock, easy. That dude has way more size and bulk on Cena. And have you seen his diet? He could put away many, many more tacos.
“Who is y’alls top pick to replace Sheriron Jones as sideline motivation?” – @VolEngineer11
Daniel: I’m going with walk-on offensive lineman Thomas Edwards. He won’t play much, but he seems to have a huge personality and his teammates love him, so give him a towel and let him get to work.
Will: John Kelly. I know he’s a starter, but it doesn’t matter to me. He’s so full of energy and confidence that he will always be in someone’s face for making a mistake. Everything I hear from people close to the program tells me that he’s without a doubt the most liked, perhaps even most respected player in that locker room.
Nathanael: Colton Jumper. I kid, but it’s a possibility. I think it could be one of the young receivers, though.
“Thoughts on the Titans draft? And not to leave anyone else, the Cowboys draft as well?” – @MaxTE34
Daniel: I give the Titans a solid B. I like the players they got, in particular Corey Davis and Adoree Jackson. Both are explosive and fill huge needs for the Titans. Jon Robinson has a very clear plan: He looks for high-character, competitive and productive players. He’s not huge on workout warriors and he doesn’t care where you played. And after putting a heavy emphasis on physicality last year, the goal was to get more explosive this season.
I stop short of giving it an A because I’m not sure the Titans squeezed all the value out of their picks that they could have. Both first-round players were picked on the high side of their projections, and Robinson gave up a fourth to move up in the third. I was hoping to pick up at least a second, maybe more, by moving back at some point, but I think the Bears also messed up those plans by taking Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 overall, thus taking trade partners at No. 5 away.
But at the end of the day, if Robinson hits on most of the guys he got, and there’s little reason to doubt him at this point, it’ll be a very good draft for Tennessee.
Nathanael: Thank you, Max, for not leaving me out of this too. I’d give Dallas a very solid B if not a B+ for their picks. They went defense heavy, especially with their first three picks, and they addressed some very pressing needs with their draft. The Cowboys needed pass rushers and secondary help in a big way, and they got just that with six of their first seven picks (they had nine overall). I have questions about Taco Charlton, but with a name like that, surely he’ll deliver for me. I really like the secondary guys they brought in as well, and the pass catching options they drafted are intriguing too.