While seven Tennessee football players were invited to the NFL Combine and 14 took part on the Vols’ Pro Day, only six from the school will be taken in the 2023 NFL Draft. Here is a projection of where everybody will land.
Round 1, Pick 17
It’s becoming more and more clear that Darnell Wright is a top 20 NFL Draft pick, and nobody in that top 20 needs an offensive lineman more than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, even the teams picking at the top don’t need more help up front as much as Pittsburgh does. As a result, look for them to take Wright early.
Round 2 pick 37
There is cautious optimism that the Tennessee football signal caller could move up into the first round, but Hendon Hooker appears to be just a ploy more than anything else. However, with three years’ left on Geno Smith’s contract, Seattle would be more than interested in taking him in the second round and developing him to take over for Smith in 2026.
Round 2, Pick 51
Mike McDaniel loves those speedy receivers who may not have the best size or hands but can beat the coverage down the field, perfect for Tua Tagovailoa. Tyreek Hill fits that offense as a result. Jalin Hyatt’s ceiling is what Hill can do, so if he is faster than his 4.4 40-time that was put up at the combine, he’ll get his shot. Bet on Miami to take that risk on the Biletnikoff Winner.
New Orleans Saints
Round 3, pick 71
A more technically sound wideout than Hyatt, Cedric Tillman was developed specifically under Kodi Burns, who is now the New Orleans Saints’ wide receivers coach. Derek Carr’s need for big receivers and New Orleans’ recent history with Tennessee football players make Tillman the perfect fit.
Round 3, pick 91
Although he has the most potential of anybody on here outside of Darnell Wright, Byron Young is raw, so he won’t fill an immediate need. However, the Buffalo Bills need more depth at edge rusher, and Von Miller, coming back from injury, won’t be there much longer. They could take Young and develop him behind Miller as their next great edge rusher.
Los Angeles Rams
Round 7, Pick 234
This is a throwaway pick, but the Los Angeles Rams could use a few more blockers late in the draft, and versatility is a selling point for offensive linemen. As a result, look for Jerome Carvin to be the surprise Tennessee football pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Whether or not that amounts to anything remains to be seen, but teams have a reason to be high on him.