With the potential for multiple first-round picks among the Tennessee NFL Draft prospects, we could see as many as five players selected from the school in the first two days and six or seven across the seven rounds. In what could be their best class in 20 years, we have the Tennessee scouting reports for their top 10 prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Tennessee 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Byron Young, EDGE
Strengths: Undersized collegiate edge rusher who made several plays behind the line of scrimmage the past two seasons. Plays with outstanding pad level, displays good change-of-direction ability, and immediately alters his angle of attack.
Effective rushing the passer out of a three-point stance or standing over tackle, plays with a lot of quickness, and is fast up the field. Fluid moving laterally and easily gets out to the flanks to make plays in space. Fluid if asked to twist or stunt, agile, and shows speed in backside pursuit. Turned in a great Combine workout.
Weaknesses: Easily knocked off balance by the initial block or controlled by a single opponent. Will be a liability against the run out of a three-point stance on Sundays. Rarely asked to make plays in reverse.
Overall: Young has terrorized the opposition two seasons running and combined for 23.5 TFLs as well as 12.5 sacks. He’s an explosive pass rusher who must get bigger and stronger as well as learn to make plays in coverage, yet comes with much upside.
Want more information on Young? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Byron Young, EDGE, Tennessee | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Cedric Tillman, WR
Strengths: Dominant, game-controlling receiver with outstanding measurables. Fluid releasing off the line of scrimmage, displays outstanding route discipline, and quickly gets in and out of breaks. Uses his frame to shield away defenders, gets vertical, and exposes himself to the big hit in order to come away with the reception. Possesses outstanding eye/hand coordination, tracks the pass in the air, and consistently comes away with the contested grab.
Effectively times receptions, consistently extends his hands, and makes the reception away from his frame. Comes back to the ball to make himself an available target, competes hard, and gives effort even if he’s not involved in the action. Adjusts backward and grabs the fastball from the air. Attracts a lot of coverage attention from opponents. Gives effort blocking downfield and gets results.
Weaknesses: Really plays to one speed and isn’t a true deep threat. Lacks a burst in his game.
Overall: Tillman is an aggressive wideout who plays strong, tough football. He’s a stout receiver and will be exceptional running short and intermediate routes at the next level. Tillman is a second-round prospect who should produce right out of the gate in the NFL.
Want more information on Tillman? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Darnell Wright, OT
Strengths: Strong, slug-it-out, small-area blocker who is best at right tackle. Keeps his feet moving, stays square, and properly places his hands into defenders. Powerful, drives opponents off the line run blocking, or controls them at the point once engaged in a block.
Patient, displays terrific vision, and works well with teammates. Possesses a tough, nasty attitude and is always working to get a pad on defenders. Sets with a wide base and works to bend his knees.
Weaknesses: Lacks quick, fluid footwork off the edge as well as lateral blocking range. Lack of agility hurts his ability to finish blocks. Not a natural knee bender.
Overall: Wright is a tough, nasty road grader who will get consideration at right tackle or even inside at guard. He’s a power-gap lineman who can be starting by the end of his rookie season in the right system.
Want more information on Wright? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Hendon Hooker, QB
Strengths: Talented signal-caller whose draft stock was soaring before he suffered a torn ACL late last November. Patient in the pocket, displays incredible poise, and scans the field going through progressions. Throws with an over-the-top delivery, displays a sense of timing on passes, and doesn’t have receivers waiting on the ball. Steps up as the pocket collapses around him, locates the open wideout, and delivers a catchable pass.
its in the pocket and takes a big hit in order to get the throw away. Does an outstanding job commanding and controlling the offense. Buys time for wideouts and delivers precise downfield passes that are right on the mark. Possesses a strong arm and easily gets the ball downfield. Puts the throw in front of receivers and lets them run to the pass.
Moves his head away from the covered target and takes the safe underneath outlet. Leaves the pocket only when absolutely necessary and is a legitimate threat picking up yardage with his legs.
Weaknesses: While he improved his accuracy and pass placement last season, there’s still room for even more improvement. Not a breakaway threat or a true RPO quarterback despite the film. Must now return from a serious knee injury.
Overall: Hooker has shown tremendous improvement in his game the past three seasons and was well on his way to becoming a top-40 pick before the knee injury in November. He possesses the size, arm strength, and — most importantly — intelligence to lead a franchise at the next level. He may actually be in a very good spot, as Hooker will be forced to watch the action from the sidelines as a rookie and absorb what’s happening.
A QB-needy team should roll the dice on Hooker in Round 2, as he comes with tremendous upside and could develop into one of the better quarterbacks from this year’s class two or three years down the road.
Want more information on Hooker? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Jalin Hyatt, WR
Strengths: Legitimate game-breaking WR coming off a sensational campaign. Possesses a tremendous burst of speed that he turns on in a single step, has a second gear, and runs away from defenders. Adjusts to the errant throw, possesses eye/hand coordination, and extends to snatch the ball out of the air. Shows a sense of timing, looks the ball into his hands, and strikes fear in opponents. Draws a lot of attention and gets consistently double-teamed. Quick as well as fast.
Weaknesses: Not a stout receiver and will struggle against press or bump-and-run coverage. Must develop a greater route tree.
Overall: Hyatt turned in a tremendous campaign after injury forced him to become the Volunteers’ No. 1 wideout. He responded with 15 touchdown catches and averaged 18.9 yards on 67 receptions. He’s a legitimate home-run-hitting receiver with a great amount of upside, and he will be lethal at the next level once he fully develops his game.
Want more information on Hyatt? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Jeremy Banks, LB
Strengths: Athletic run-and-chase linebacker who plays with an aggressive style. Agile, fluid, and displays outstanding speed in pursuit. Efficient, takes proper angles, and makes a lot of athletic plays. Stays with assignments, quickly recognizes the action, and sells out to make the tackle.
Mobile, fast enough to cut off the corners from ball handlers and drives his shoulders into opponents. Sells out on the blitz, has a closing burst, and gets depth on pass drops. Easily changes direction. Effectively makes the defensive calls and gets teammates in proper position.
Weaknesses: Lacks size and growth potential. Easily knocked from his angle of attack by a single blocker. Lack of height results in coverage mismatches downfield.
Overall: Banks possesses the athleticism, speed, and instincts to line up as a backup in a one-gap system. He also plays with a special-teams mentality, which is added value.
Want more information on Banks? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Jeremy Banks, LB, Tennessee | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Jerome Carvin, G
Strengths: Durable five-year starter who played every position on the interior offensive line. Sets with a wide base, starts with good knee bend, and gets leverage on opponents. Keeps his head on a swivel and displays outstanding blocking vision. Strong, stays square, and blocks down or engulfs defenders. Fires his hands into opponents and turns them from the action.
Weaknesses: Not quick off the snap. Rumbles around the field. Struggles to adjust.
Overall: Carvin is a small-area power-gap blocker with an NFL build. The lack of athleticism and agility will make it tough for him to get out of camp this summer.
Princeton Fant, TE
Strengths: Undersized but mobile tight end coming off a career season. Runs solid routes, quickly gets into breaks, and stays low on exit. Uses his frame to shield away defenders, adjusts to the errant throw, and catches the ball with his hands. Competes and gives effort blocking. Athletic.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Weaknesses: Possesses average size and limited growth potential. Has never been overly productive.
Overall: Fant did well at Tennessee the past two seasons, yet he’s very much a man in search of a position at the next level. He projects to TE, H-back, or even as a lead-blocking fullback, though Fant may never be anything more than a practice-squad prospect.
Trevon Flowers, S
Strengths: Instinctive safety who is patient, quickly diagnoses plays, and works well with cornerbacks. Physical, keeps the action in front of him, and effectively times pass defenses. Fires upfield to defend the run, wraps up tackling, and brings larger ball handlers down on contact.
Weaknesses: Stiff and struggles redirecting to ball handlers. Lacks an explosive burst to the ball out of his plant. Plays faster than his 40 time, yet still lacks next-level speed.
Overall: Flowers was a productive run-defending safety for Tennessee, but he comes with marginal athleticism and speed.
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