Three Vols picked in 2024 NFL Draft

By Mark Nagi

The NFL Draft is once again a showcase for Tennessee Volunteer alums.

Last month three former Vols were picked. This might not have been as impressive as 2023 when five former Vols were taken in the first three rounds, but running back Jaylen Wright, quarterback Joe Milton and defensive back Kamal Hadden could each continue their football careers at the next level.

Let’s start with Wright. The running back position has been devalued in recent years, but the Miami Dolphins thought so highly of Wright that they selected him in Round 4.

Miami already has a lot of weapons in their offense, with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, plus running backs Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane.

Wright believes that he can make an explosive group even better.

“It’s going to be really scary,” said Wright. “I got a lot of fire built up in me right now, just from this whole process. I’m just ready to get out there and just prove my point. These people that passed on me, make them feel it. So just ready to bring that aggression to the field, make a lot of plays, make a lot of big plays.”

In the 6th round, the New England Patriots picked Joe Milton. This was a very interesting decision from that franchise, because they drafted North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye.

The Patriots finally gave up on Mac Jones, trading the former first round pick out of Alabama to Jacksonville back in March. New England is looking for their quarterback of the future, and while Maye is the guy, Milton will be there to push him, and perhaps open the eyes of other teams, if not the Patriots. Remember, New England hired former Tennessee Vols linebacker Jerod Mayo to replace Bill Belichick as head coach.

“It’s just an opportunity,” said Milton. “I feel like everywhere you go, no matter what quarterback got selected in this draft, no matter where you go, you’re going to have to compete. Nothing is just given to you, no matter who you are. So, no matter where you go, you’re just going to have to compete, so that is what I am looking forward to doing.”

Also taken in Round 6, Kamal Hadden will get to start his career with the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Hadden led the Vols in interceptions the last two seasons, including a memorable pick 6 against South Carolina last season. He will join former Tennessee Vol offensive lineman Trey Smith on a group that will try to become the first NFL team to win three straight Super Bowls.

Of course, these aren’t the only former Vols from the 2023 team that will have a chance to make NFL rosters. A bunch of Vols inked free agent deals, including tight end Jacob Warren. The former Farragut standout will join Milton in Foxboro.

Among the others were running back Jabari Small signing with the Tennessee Titans and wide receiver Ramel Keyton giving it a go with the Las Vegas Raiders.