4. Emmit Gooden, DL
Though he only started one game and served mostly as a rotational player, Emmit Gooden had a strong first year with Tennessee after playing in the JUCO ranks. Because of that and because of the larger role he’s expected to take in 2019, he could be set up to really boost his NFL stock.
Gooden played in all 12 games for the Vols last season and started against Vanderbilt in the Vols’ final game of the season. The 6-foot-3, 302-pound defensive lineman joined the Vols as a four-star JUCO product out of Independence Community College, and he performed as well as any of UT’s defensive linemen down the stretch of the season.
In his role as the fourth lineman last year, Gooden totaled 33 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and a sack.
This year, Gooden will likely be a starter for Tennessee along the defensive line, and he’s actually UT’s most experienced member on the defensive line. If he builds off his promising first year with the Vols and flourishes in his starting role this season, he’ll definitely work his way into the NFL Draft board next year.