Knoxville, TENN. (WATE) – For a trio of Tennessee football stars, the NFL Draft was a realization of a life-long dream. Rashaan Gaulden, John Kelly and Kahlil McKenzie all got the call they’ve been waiting forever to hear over the course of the draft weekend: the call to come be a professional football player.
Gaulden, a defensive back who lined up all over the field as Tennessee’s most consistent player in 2017, was selected in the third round Friday night by the Carolina Panthers with the 85th overall pick. Kelly went to the Los Angeles Rams in the sixth round, while McKenzie joined them later in the sixth round — picked by the Kansas City Chiefs.
For McKenzie, the irony of the situation was lost on no one. His father, Reggie, is the general manager of Oakland, a division rival of the Chiefs. Though McKenzie played defensive tackle for the Vols, Kansas City’s plan is to move him to the offensive line.
While they weren’t among the 256 picks called, a handful of VFLs have already found potential NFL homes, signing as undrafted free agents. On offense, Ethan Wolf signed with Tennessee, Jason Robertson with Dallas, and Brett Kendrick with Detroit. Four Vols signed from the defense, including Kendal Vickers with Pittsburgh, Colton Jumper with New Orleans, Emmanuel Moseley with San Francisco and Evan Berry (who played safety and served as a deadly return specialist) with Cleveland. Punter Trevor Daniel inked a contract with Houston.