Tennessee had three players taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, but the numbers go much deeper than just that.
The Vols started a new streak with this year’s draft, and they proved once again that even in down times, the University of Tennessee is among the best at producing NFL talent.
Here is our look at the Vols’ 2018 NFL draft class by the numbers.
For the 20th time in the last 25 NFL drafts, the Vols had three or more players taken in a draft. The Vols had six players taken last year, their highest total since the 2010 draft. But the Vols’ three draftees this year marked the 20th time since the 1994 draft that Tennessee has had at least three players taken in the draft. The lone exceptions are 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2016
Up until the 2015 NFL Draft, the Vols had a streak of 50-plus years of players getting taken in the draft. That was snapped during the 2015 draft, and the Vols didn’t have anyone taken in the 2016 draft either. Tennessee ended that drought with last year’s draft, and they started a new streak with this year’s draft. The Vols have now had a player taken in two consecutive drafts, and they’ll look to continue that streak next year as well.
This year saw a huge gap between Vols selected in the draft, and it was the largest gap since the 2014 draft. Rashaan Gaulden was selected with the 85th overall pick in this year’s draft, and John Kelly didn’t come off the board until the 176th overall pick, a gap of 91 picks. In 2014, Ja’Wuan James was taken with the 19th overall pick, then Zach Fulton wasn’t selected until pick No. 193 overall.
This year’s draft marked the first time since the 2012 draft that Tennessee didn’t have a player taken in the first two rounds when they had someone drafted. Gaulden wasn’t drafted until the third round of this year’s draft. In 2012, Tennessee only had one player taken, and that was Malik Jackson in the fifth round.
Kahlil McKenzie became the 357th Vol all-time to be drafted into the NFL when he was selected with the 198th overall pick in this year’s draft. That total is in the top-10 all-time among all FBS schools.
The Vols’ three draftees this year gave Tennessee 79 drafted players into the NFL since the beginning of the new millennium in 2000. Tennessee has had 79 players drafted over the last 19 years, and that includes two years in which the Vols had no players taken in the draft. That’s inside the top-15 among all FBS schools in that time. That total includes 15 first-round picks as well.