Joe Milton and Kamal Hadden show out at Tennessee's Pro Day

All 32 NFL teams were in Knoxville for Tennessee football's Pro Day, where UT's seniors had the opportunity to make their case to scouts.
Joe Milton smiles on the field at Tennessee Pro-Day in Knoxville, Tenn., Wednesday, March 27, 2024.
Joe Milton smiles on the field at Tennessee Pro-Day in Knoxville, Tenn., Wednesday, March 27, 2024. / Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY

Tennessee football had another good season in 2023, going 9-4 with a 35-0 Citrus Bowl win over Iowa to end the season. A large part of that success came from Tennessee's seniors. Whether it be through leadership on or off the field, the Vols have some potential stars in the 2024 class.

At Tennessee's Pro Day, NFL scouts from all 32 NFL teams were in attendance to watch the Vols' seniors perform in combine drills to showcase their athleticism and talent. Two players who specifically showed out were corner Kamal Hadden and quarterback Joe Milton.

Hadden is still recovering from a season-ending injury, but that didn't prevent him from having another solid performance after his showcase at the NFL Combine. He was one of only a few Volunteers to be invited to this year's draft combine. Milton and UT running back Jaylen Wright were the other two invited to the combine.

NFL analyst Lance Zeirlein said Hadden is a "big cover corner with the athletic talent and skill set to employ in a variety of coverages. Hadden has the feet and strength to redirect routes from press but can be a little tight in his transitions when trying to simply mirror and match the release. He anticipates route breaks with timing and steams in to break up throws. Hadden has good size and ball skills and improved his coverage squeeze in 2023. If he's healthy and runs well, he could see his stock jump as an eventual starting wide corner."

Hadden continued to impress at Tennessee's Pro Day. He didn't perform most combine drills at the NFL showcase, but he did show off his vertical and speed on Wednesday. Hadden recorded a 34.5-inch vertical, 10.2-foot broad jump, and 4.53 unofficial 40-yard dash.

While those aren't first-round numbers for a corner, they are indicative of Hadden's recovery and progress since his injury. His coverage and play-making ability drastically improved in 2023, which was a surprise after his lackluster 2022 performances. NFL teams seem to like his play-making and aggressiveness. NFL draft analysis also predicts he will be an NFL starter if he continues to trend in the right direction.

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Milton was the headline for this year's pro day. His arm strength is his best feature, and his entire pro day performance has been built up to him completing 70+ yard passes to receivers on the other end of Tennessee's indoor practice facility. 

He ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash, which he did not participate in at the NFL Combine. That would place him just behind BYU's Kedon Slovis, who ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the combine at 4.55 seconds. While his speed was impressive in comparison to his competition in this year's draft, his arm talent is where he can make his money.

Milton is known for his strong arm and ability to throw the football at high velocity and distance. He showed off some of his arm strength at the combine, which included topping out at 62 mph on the radar gun. His arm talent can be so strong that they had to wrap up his performance at Tennessee's outdoor practice field because he might have hit the ceiling indoors. 

He also showed off his arm in the red zone with some shorter passes. He has been known for overthrowing or sending a rocket to his teammates on short routes that result in incompletions, but he looks to have toned down some of those issues in his pro-day performance.

There's no doubt Milton can become an NFL quarterback with the right quarterback coach in the right system who can fine-tune some of his issues. His arm strength alone can make him a game-changer for some franchises.

Milton and Hadden weren't the only Vols to participate in the combine drills at pro day. Others included McCallan Castles, Aaron Beasley, Gabe Jeudy-Lally, Ramel Keyton, Jaylen McCollough, and Jaylen Wright

There isn't much to take note of among the remaining Vols. Castles recorded a 10.6-foot broad jump, which would tie him with the best broad jump at the combine among other tight ends. Small recorded a 36-inch vertical, 9.9-foot broad jump, and 4.55 40-yard dash.

Other Vols that participated in the workout but didn't go through combine drills were Jabari Small, Charles Campbell, Ollie Lane, Dee Williams, Jeremiah Crawford, Kurott Garland, and Jacob Warren

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