9. No proven slot receiver
When it comes to wideouts, Tennessee football should be set. We have seen what Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway can do. Brandon Johnson also has a track record of production, and Josh Palmer has plenty of potential.
However, it’s a completely different story in the slot. Josh Smith never really got to emerge the way he should have under Butch Jones, and he’s now gone. At this point, Tyson Helton and Jeremy Pruitt would like speedsters on the inside who can help the wideouts stretch the field.
Tyler Byrd could be that, but conventional wisdom was he belonged on defense until the coaches tried him out there in the spring and then moved him back. Latrell Williams has barely seen any action. The only other guy who may be able to have an impact is Jordan Murphy.
However, if none of those guys steps up, the Vols may need to use wideouts throughout the rotation and just rely on size and deep balls for their advantage. That does limit what Helton likes to do, though, in hopes of creating mismatches. If Tennessee football is going to be a complete pro-style offense, they need somebody to step up in the slot.
To be fair, maybe Byrd will finally thrive now with no distractions. Murphy was once a four-star, and Williams was a speedster who has had two years to work on his hands in the college game. Somebody needs to rise to the occasion for Tennessee football here.