Rahaan Gaulden Ready For 2018 NFL Draft

Versatile DB Leads List Of Several Vols Who Could Hear Names called This Weekend

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - by special to The Chattanoogan.com

 Rashaan Gaulden is ready for the next level. His nearly four years at the University of Tennessee have prepared him for the NFL and the former Vol defensive back is expected to hear his name called this weekend at the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“There’s a relief and a calmness about it all because of all of the hard work I know I put in these last few months and the relationships I’ve built,” said Gaulden, who is ranked among the Top 100 draft prospects by NFL Network analysts Mike Mayock and Gil Brandt.

“I know I’ve made good impressions on the people I have met throughout the process. I feel like I can be the right guy for a number of teams, and now I just have to see which team values me the most. I’m ready to find out where I’m going to be.

“I’m ready to get to work.”

Gaulden leads a group of Vols with a great chance to be selected that also includes running back John Kelly (Brandt’s No. 122 prospect), defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, punter Trevor Daniel and tight end Ethan Wolf, among others. Several Vols who go undrafted are expected to sign free agent contracts, too.

Tennessee had 30 alumni in the NFL last season and that number will increase this weekend.

The 2018 NFL Draft begins Thursday night with Round 1 at 8 p.m. Rounds 2-3 will be on Friday night beginning at 7 p.m. The draft will wrap up on Saturday with Rounds 4-7 starting at 12 p.m.

The NFL Network, FOX, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will broadcast the draft.

Gaulden, who had 65 tackles and three forced fumbles for UT in 2017, is in Dallas this week as part of a select group of rookies who will take part the NFL Players Association Rookie Debut, which includes several different events before the draft, featuring draft prospects interacting with current and former NFL players.

He will fly back home to Nashville on Thursday morning and watch the draft with close friends and family that night and on Friday before hosting a party on Saturday.

Gaulden credits Tennessee for molding him into an NFL player on and off the field.  

“It’s all about connections, and I’ve built some great relationships during my time at Tennessee,” Gaulden said. “From my professors to the academic staff to the trainers to the equipment managers, and all of the support staff – they’ve prepared me for this and I’m very grateful. They’ve always had my back.

“The support of the Tennessee fans means a lot, too. I know I have a lot of people in my corner.”  

Tennessee NFL Draft Prospects

Rashaan Gaulden, Defensive Back
Gaulden is a versatile defensive back who lined up at safety, nickel back and cornerback for the Vols during his career, finishing with 140 tackles, including 9.5 for loss, over 36 games with 19 starts. Gaulden had a breakout 2017 redshirt junior season, where he totaled 65 tackles to go along with three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, six passes defended and one interception.
Draft Rankings
No. 93 by NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock
No. 73 by NFL Network Analyst Gil Brandt
No. 228 by ESPN NFL Draft Insider Mel Kiper
No. 212 by ESPN’s Scouts Inc.
No. 18 safety by Mel Kiper
No. 32 cornerback by Scouts Inc.

John Kelly, Running Back
Kelly had a breakout junior campaign in his first year as a starter in 2017, leading the Vols in rushing (778 yards) and receptions (37) in 11 games. The Detroit, Mich., native scored nine touchdowns for the Vols and opened the season with 128 yards and four touchdowns in a double overtime win over Georgia Tech. For his career, Kelly rushed for 1,573 yards and 15 touchdowns, while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Kelly added 43 receptions for 350 yards. He played in 33 games with 12 starts.
Draft Rankings
No. 122 by NFL Network Analyst Gil Brandt
No. 258 by ESPN NFL Draft Insider Mel Kiper
No. 154 by ESPN’s Scouts Inc.
No. 19 running back by Mel Kiper
No. 15 running back by Scouts Inc.

Trevor Daniel, Punter
Daniel finished second nationally in punting average with a Tennessee record 47.5 average in 2017, breaking a 35-year old mark of 46.9 set by Jimmy Colquitt in 1982. The Dickson, Tenn., native also set the UT career record for punting average (45.9) during his tenure - which began as a walk-on. Daniel redshirted and did not play his first two seasons on Rocky Top before taking over the punting duties in 2015. He went on to play in 38 games and boomed 76 punts over 50 yards in his career.
Draft Rankings
No. 236 by ESPN NFL Draft Insider Mel Kiper
No. 5 punter by Mel Kiper

Kahlil McKenzie, Defensive Tackle
McKenzie had a standout junior season in 2017, making 36 tackles and four TFLs over 11 games with nine starts. The son of Oakland Raiders general manager and Tennessee alum Reggie McKenzie, Kahlil McKenzie appeared in 31 games at defensive tackle over his Tennessee career and totaled 72 stops.
Draft Rankings
No. 296 by ESPN’s Scouts Inc.
No. 30 defensive tackle by Scouts Inc.
No. 28 defensive tackle by ESPN NFL Draft Insider Mel Kiper

Ethan Wolf, Tight End
Wolf finished his career at No. 2 among tight ends in Tennessee history with 91 receptions and No. 3 in receiving yards (998). The Minster, Ohio, native started 47 games and appeared in 50 contests. He scored seven touchdowns and averaged 11.0 ypc.
Draft Rankings 
No. 29 by ESPN NFL Draft Insider Mel Kiper

Other Draft Eligible Vols
LB Elliott Berry
KR Evan Berry (2015 All-American)
WR Jeff George
TE Jakob Johnson
LB Colton Jumper
OT Brett Kendrick (Kiper’s No. 26 offensive tackle)
CB Justin Martin
PK Aaron Medley
CB Emmanuel Moseley
OL Jashon Robertson
WR Josh Smith (Kiper’s No. 119 wide receiver)
OL Coleman Thomas
DT Kendal Vickers (Kiper’s No. 46 defensive tackle)
CB Shaq Wiggins (Kiper’s No. 64 cornerback)

(Contact Dennis Norwood at bigorangebeat@gmail.com; follow him on twitter at @DennisENorwood)

 

 



PREP SCHEDULES

FOOTBALL   THURSDAY, AUGUST 16 Central vs. Walker Valley at Finley Stadium Baylor vs. Notre Dame at Finley Stadium   FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 Boyd-Buchanan at Whitwell Bradley at Farragut Brainerd at Howard McCallie at Chattanooga Christian Rhea Co. at Cleveland Copper Basin at Polk Co. Signal Mountain at ... (click for more)

Pruitt Says Vols Running Backs Bonding

The Tennessee Volunteers football team is 11 practices into 2018 fall camp and head coach  Jeremy Pruitt  sees his running back unit bonding in the midst of competing every day.   Pruitt said Tennessee's tailbacks are all working hard following Wednesday's practice at Haslam Field. "All of these guys at running back, they've really done a good job ... (click for more)

Trustee Hullander Says Airbnb Will Remit Hotel/Motel Tax Directly To His Office; It Has 600 Local Hosts With $7 Million Annual Income

Trustee Bill Hullander said Wednesday that Airbnb has agreed to directly remit hotel/motel tax for its 600 hosts in Hamilton County to his office. Mr. Hullander said prior to the agreement that his office had difficulty locating those renting out rooms or homes and had just 90 on the books. The agreement is slated to boost the current hotel/motel income from $85,000 to $560,000. ... (click for more)

County Attorney Says All Votes Were Counted In Recent Election Snafu, And None Affected Outcomes Of Races

County Attorney Rheubin Taylor, who is also the lawyer for the Election Commission, said all ballots were counted despite a recent election snafu. He said the affected voters did not affect the outcome of any election. Election officials said they learned just prior to the Aug. 2 election that there was a problem with  some district lines being improperly drawn several ... (click for more)

Jeff Styles, I Believe You - And Response (3)

I am glad that Jeff Styles presented the details of the event on his website.  Just because the government alleges a crime does not mean guilty. A criminal charge is an allegation by government. Sure, that allegation can be very serious, but the charge is still an unproven allegation until a court of law and Lady Justice has her review of the proof.  A person gets ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘The Cake Is Baked’

If all goes well, and as expected, Hamilton County Chancellor Jeff Atherton will tell a group representing the Democratic Party not to ever again clutter his office or his courtroom with such a childish amount of political poppycock as will be brought on display tomorrow. The Democrats want to block Robin Smith, a longtime Republican stalwart, from becoming our next State Representative ... (click for more)