Three Vols Selected On Day Three of 2024 NFL Draft
Courtesy / UT Athletics

Three Vols Selected On Day Three of 2024 NFL Draft

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Three Tennessee football players were selected on the final day of the 2024 NFL Draft, pushing the Volunteers’ three-year total under head coach Josh Heupel to 13.

All-SEC running back Jaylen Wright was taken by the Miami Dolphins with the 120th overall pick in the fourth round, quarterback Joe Milton III went 193rd overall in the sixth round to the New England Patriots, and cornerback Kamal Hadden was selected with the 211th overall pick in the sixth round to the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

One year after having the SEC’s highest drafted offensive lineman in Darnell Wright, Tennessee produced the conference’s highest drafted running back with another Wright.

Hosting a watch party in Knoxville with family and former teammate Jalin Hyatt, Jaylen Wright became the highest drafted Tennessee running back since five-time Pro Bowler Alvin Kamara went No. 67 overall in the third round to the New Orleans Saints in 2017.   

Wright led the SEC’s No. 1 rushing offense last season, carrying it 137 times for 1,013 yards, including 592 yards after contact. His 7.39 average yards per carry led all FBS running backs with a minimum of 120 attempts. That figure also ranked second in UT single-season history.

Wright racked up six 100-yard rushing games, a figure that ranked second in the SEC in 2023. He concluded his three-year career with 18 rushing touchdowns and finished 13th on the UT all-time rushing yardage chart with 2,297 yards on 368 carries.

Milton III got the call from VFL New England head coach Jerod Mayo, who was selected 16 years ago by the Patriots. It’s back-to-back years that the Vols had a quarterback taken as Hendon Hooker went in the third round to the Detroit Lions in 2023.

In 2023, Milton III started all 12 regular season game and completed 229-of-354 (.647) passes for 2,813 yards with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. He finished with 3,112 yards of total offense, representing the third straight season a Vol QB eclipsed the 3,000 mark and the eighth-best total in school history. Milton III was the MVP of the 2022 Orange Bowl, leading the Vols past Clemson with three touchdown passes.

Hadden enjoyed the best season of his career last fall despite missing the final six games due to a shoulder injury. His defensive coverage grade of 90.4 was second-best among SEC cornerbacks and fifth in the nation according to Pro Football Focus. Hadden, who did not give up a touchdown throw last season, recorded 19 tackles, a team-best three interceptions and eight pass breakups, which ranked sixth in the SEC.

Hadden took in the life-changing moment at a watch party with family and friends just outside of Detroit, Michigan, site of the draft.

Undrafted Vols now have the opportunity to sign free agent contracts with teams.

Tennessee NFL Draft Picks
Round (Pick), Name, Position, Team

4 (120), Jaylen Wright, RB, Miami Dolphins
6 (193), Joe Milton III, QB, New England Patriots
6 (211), Kamal Hadden, CB, Kansas City Chiefs

Tennessee NFL Draft Notes

  • Tennessee has produced multiple offensive picks in now three straight drafts with eight total offensive players under head coach Josh Heupel.
  • A total of 13 players in the Josh Heupel era have been drafted (since 2022 NFL Draft). It’s the highest three-year span of draft picks for the Vols since 14 went from 2006-08.
  • With the three total draft selections, Tennessee has had 387 all-time draft picks, which dates back to 1936. That mark includes the AFL Draft, which merged in 1967.
  • With Hendon Hooker (2023) and Joe Milton III (2024), Tennessee is one of just three programs in the last five years with a quarterback selected in back-to-back drafts, joining Kentucky (2023-24) and Alabama (2020-21). It’s the first time since 1994-95 that the Vols have achieved the feat. Heath Shuler (round 1, pick 3) was selected in 1994, and Jerry Colquitt (round 6, pick 191) was chosen in 1995.
  • Dating back to 2010, five Josh Heupel-coached quarterbacks have been drafted: Joe Milton III (2024), Hendon Hooker (2023), Drew Lock (2019), Landry Jones (2013) and Sam Bradford (2010).
  • Tennessee has now had 15 quarterbacks drafted in the common draft era (since 1967). That total is tied for first in the SEC and tied for fifth nationally.
  • Five players who transferred to Tennessee have now been drafted in the Josh Heupel era: Joe Milton III (2024), Kamal Hadden (2024), Hendon Hooker (2023), Velus Jones Jr. (2022) and Cade Mays (2022).
  • Jaylen Wright is the highest drafted Tennessee running back since Alvin Kamara went No. 67 overall in the 2017 third round. He is the first UT running back ever drafted by the Miami Dolphins and the 13th Vol player overall selected by the franchise. Wright was the highest drafted SEC running back in 2024.
  • Joe Milton III is the first UT player drafted by the New England Patriots since their head coach VFL Jerod Mayo went at pick 10 in the 2008 first round.
  • Kamal Hadden will team up with VFL Trey Smith in Kansas City. Hadden is the 12th all-time Vol selected by the franchise and the first since College Football Hall of Famer Eric Berry in 2010.
  • Kamal Hadden is the third Vol defensive back selected in the draft in the Josh Heupel era, joining Alontae Taylor and Theo Jackson.

Headlines

What's happening

Paint It Forward! (with McLain’s Painting Service)

Paint It Forward! (with McLain’s Painting Service)

NewsTalk 98.7 is teaming up with McLain’s Painting Service to help “Paint It Forward” this spring. Nominate your favorite Non-profit organization to get a fresh coat of paint up to $10,000 provided by Sherwin Williams!

Free NewsTalk 98.7 App

Free NewsTalk 98.7 App

Take WOKI with you wherever you go with the free NewsTalk 98.7 App, available on the App Store and Google Play!

Listen Live

Listen Live

We’re making it even easier for you to stay connected to NewsTalk 98.7 wherever you go! Besides tuning in on your radio, you can also stream 98.7 through your computer, smartphone, tablet, and your smart speaker.