The 2017 NFL season is officially over. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated New England in Super Bowl LII, and former Vol Derek Barnett finished his rookie season as a Super Bowl champion.
Now it’s time to focus on the upcoming NFL draft. There’s a new crop of Vols slated to try and make their way into the NFL, and four Vols found out on Tuesday that they are invited to participate in the 2018 NFL Combine.
Punter Trevor Daniel, defensive back Rashaan Gaulden, running back John Kelly, and defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie all received invites to participate in the combine. They are four of a total of 326 players who have been selected to participate in this year’s combine.
Daniel is the only Vol to receive a grade on NFL.com’s scouting report for combine participants, and they’ve given him a tentative grade of 4.9. By that measure, Daniel might go undrafted but should “be in an NFL training camp” according to their grade guide.
In his career, Daniel set several records as a punter for the Vols. He finished his Vol career with 45.9 yard per punt average, the highest average in Vol history. His 47.5 yard per punt average in 2017 was the highest in a single season in program history as well.
John Kelly finished his Tennessee career with 1,573 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 327 carries. He also added 350 receiving yards on 43 catches. He was Tennessee’s leading rusher this past season and started 11 of the Vols’ 12 games.
As a Vol, Rashaan Gaulden was one of the best defensive backs on the roster when he was healthy. He consistently graded out as Tennessee’s best corner in 2017, and he finished his Vol career with 140 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 10 passes defended, an interception, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries in 36 games.
Kahlil McKenzie was highly rated coming out of high school, but he never quite lived up to the hype with the Vols. He didn’t have a bad career at Tennessee, but it ended up being a little underwhelming by most fans’ standards. McKenzie finished with 72 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss three sacks, two passes defended, and a forced fumble in 31 games.