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.
Rashaan Gaulden is a day one starting nickel in the league. Love his combination of toughness/quickness/awareness. #Vols
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 27, 2018
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.
“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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