KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Departing Tennessee tailback Alvin Kamara could be a first-round NFL draft pick on April 27, according to NFL analyst Mike Mayock.
The Vols haven’t had a tailback selected in the first round since Jamal Lewis went No. 5 overall to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2000 NFL draft.
Mayock, a former NFL player turned college and pro analyst, used his Twitter account to heap praise and refer to Kamara as a “special talent” who “should be in the 1st (round) conversation.”
The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Kamara set a school record for all-purpose yardage in the Vols’ 45-38 double-overtime loss at Texas A&M this season, finishing with 312.
Kamara rushed for 127 yards with two touchdowns, gained 161 yards receiving with another touchdown and had 16 yards on kick returns and 8 on a punt return.
Kamara became the first player from a Power 5 school in 20 years to get 150 yards receiving and 125 yards rushing in the same game.
“I just do what’s asked of me, and good things come,” Kamara said after his performance. “I just play my role and my position, and whatever I can do to help the team to do, I’ll do.”
Kamara, a junior who began his career at Alabama, redshirting as a freshman before transferring to Hutchinson (Kans.) Community College, suffered a sprained knee in Tennessee’s loss to the Crimson Tide this season.
The Atlanta native missed two games before returning for the final four, playing with a knee brace.
Kamara, a team captain, said the brace was merely a precaution and he could have played without it.
The Vols have three underclassmen who have declared for the draft. In addition to Kamara, defensive end Derek Barnett and receiver Josh Malone have indicated they will turn pro.
Barnett has been projected as a first-round pick, but Malone’s status is far more uncertain, as to where or whether he will be selected.
Watched Alvin Kamara from tenn last night…WOW…burst, accel, COD…exc in pass game… Special talent- should be in 1st rd conversation
— Mike Mayock (@MikeMayock) January 11, 2017