Tennessee Player With Most To Prove at the Combine

The NFL combine got underway on Feb. 28th and the University of Tennessee has six players that will be participating.

The six include running back Alvin Kamara, quarterback Josh Dobbs, defensive end Derek Barnett, defensive back Cameron Sutton, wide receiver Josh Malone, and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin.

Running back Alvin Kamara run around Ohio defenders during the Vols 28-19 victory over the Bobcats (September 17,2016)  -Photo by Sumner Gilliam
Running back Alvin Kamara run around Ohio defenders during the Vols 28-19 victory over the Bobcats (September 17,2016) -Photo by Sumner Gilliam

Players like Kamara will go into the combine without a lot to show or prove. He’ll let the highlight reel from this past season speak for itself. However, others have a lot more on the line to guarantee their name being called on draft day.

So, which UT player needs the best combine performance, then?

Running backs are not getting drafted as high up as they use to which leaves Kamara needing a good performance for why a team should get him sooner rather than later.

Dobbs had a shaky season at times with his inaccuracy on the deep ball, so expect scouts to keep a close on those throws.

With Reeves-Maybin was placed on injured reserve after suffering a shoulder injury in the first quarter of the Florida game back on Oct. 8th,  scouts and team doctors will be interested to see how his shoulder is holding up now. We’ve seen injuries damage players draft stocks. Rewind to Todd Gurley III entering the draft after tearing his ACL.

Sutton also missed some time throughout the season battling an ankle injury, so the same goes for him as teams will be taking a close look at that. He was able to return from the injury however, which means that should not damage his value as much as Reeves-Maybin.

Malone arguably went to the draft a year too early and has fallen in the early wide receiver rankings.

Barnett, well, there is not a whole lot he has to show the scouts. The all-time sack leader for Tennessee is a guaranteed first round pick barring any Instagram post with drugs moments before Goodell takes the stage.

After it is all said and done, Malone is the one with the most to prove.

Tennessee wide receiver Josh Malone runs in a touchdown during the Vols 38-28 victory (Sept. 24, 2016) - Photo by Sumner Gilliam
Tennessee wide receiver Josh Malone runs in a touchdown during the Vols 38-28 victory (Sept. 24, 2016) – Photo by Sumner Gilliam

He had a good season for UT, but he did not have a great season. He reeled in 50 passes for 972 yards and 11 touchdowns, but here is the problem. Malone did not come to play when it mattered the most.

In Tennessee’s three game skid with losses to Texas A&M, Alabama and South Carolina Malone had no touchdowns and a high of 61 yards.

His big games were against the defenses of Ohio and Tennessee Tech where he scored four  combined touchdowns. In fact, only four of his 11 scores were against SEC teams. Three of those four were against easier defenses like Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt.

Just about every mock draft on the web has Malone going around the fifth round. He can make up some ground by turning heads at the combine. If he cant turn some heads in Indy, than he could be wishing he stayed on Rocky Top one more year.

Featured image by Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

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