Tennessee has had three players declare early for the 2018 NFL Draft, and they have a few more seniors who are eligible for the draft as well. But according to CBS Sports, only one of Tennessee’s many draft eligible players is inside the top 190 overall prospects in this class.
CBS Sports released their initial big board of 2018 NFL Draft prospects and ranked them one through 190. And according to their rankings, only one Vol is one of the top 190 overall players in this year’s draft class.
Running back John Kelly comes in at No. 170 overall on CBS Sports’ big board of prospects. He’s the 16th-ranked running back on their board, and he comes in just ahead of LSU’s Darrel Williams (187th) and Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough (190th). Saquon Barkley is the No. 1 running back in the 2018 class of prospects according to CBS Sports, and there are seven SEC backs in the top 190 overall players, including four inside the top 62.
As a senior, Kelly ran for 778 yards and nine touchdowns on 189 carries in 11 games. He also caught 37 passes for 299 yards, giving him 1,077 all-purpose yards on 226 touches, giving him a 4.8 yard per touch average. He totaled 1,573 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in his Tennessee career, adding 350 receiving yards on 43 catches as well.
Kelly is one of three Vols who declared early for the NFL Draft after the 2017 season. Kelly, cornerback Rashaan Gaulden, and defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie all decided to forgo the 2018 season and enter the draft early. And although analysts and scouts have raved about Gaulden this past year, CBS Sports doesn’t have him ranked in their top 190 prospects right now.
The Vols ended a two-year drought in the draft last year when six Vols were selected in the draft. Tennessee didn’t have a player drafted in either the 2016 or 2015 NFL Drafts, ending a half century streak of at least one Vol getting picked in the draft.
Tennessee isn’t likely to equal their total number of players drafted in last year’s draft for this upcoming draft, but the Vols do have a number of players who eligible to be selected. Kelly is one of them, as is Gaulden, McKenzie, tight end Ethan Wolf, kicker Aaron Medley, cornerbacks Justin Martin and Emmanuel Moseley, defensive tackle Kendal Vickers, offensive lineman Jashon Robertson, and a few others.