Draft

Tennessee’s Rashaan Gaulden called a ‘day one’ starter in NFL

Rashaan Gaulden
Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee defensive back Rashaan Gaulden surprised some when he decided to bypass his senior season and enter the 2018 NFL draft, but one respected draft analyst is a big fan.

“Rashaan Gaulden is a day one starting nickel in the league,” NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout, tweeted Monday night.

Gaulden will get a chance to further make his case at the NFL Scouting Combine, which begins Tuesday. The defensive backs are scheduled for their on-field workouts next Monday.

NFL.com analyst Mike Mayock also is a Gaulden fan, but not to the same extent as Jeremiah.

RELATED: The 10 SEC players most on the spot at the NFL Scouting Combine, including John Kelly

“He’s tough, he hustles to the football, he’s got some range,” Mayock said Monday during his pre-combine teleconference. “I want to see what he runs. He’s 6-foot-1. He might play corner. I don’t know. If he runs 4.48, he might be interesting as a long corner. He also might be interesting as a free safety.

“I know he can play special teams, and I kind of feel like right now he’s probably an early third-day pick. But I think he could help himself (with a strong performance at the combine).”

Gaulden (6 feet 1, 193 pounds) played corner and nickelback for the Vols; at one point, it was thought he would be a safety. He was a reserve as a true freshman in 2014, missed 2015 with a foot injury, then started in 2016 and ’17.

He is one of four Vols at the combine; he is joined by punter Trevor Daniel, running back John Kelly and defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie. Kelly and McKenzie also left school a year early.

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