KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football looked a lot like Tennessee football used to look on Friday.
The Neyland-Thompson Sports Center was flooded with NFL coaches, coordinators and general managers, and future NFL picks in abundance.
If only a few of those future picks — Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Cam Sutton and Alvin Kamara — had been able to stay healthy for the entirety of the 2016 season, the Vols might have had their first SEC East Division title since 2007.
Alas, it was still another Top 25 season, and the Tennessee pro day turnout represented another step forward for Coach Butch Jones, as his first recruiting class cycled out successfully.
Here are 5 things to note from Friday’s event:
1. Josh Dobbs — on target, again
Dobbs just keeps getting better, and it has become hard to imagine him not getting selected in the first four rounds of the NFL draft if not sooner.
Tennessee director of player personnel Bob Welton said Dobbs’ scripted workout was the best by a quarterback he had seen.
Robert Meachem, former Vols All-American, first-round NFL draft pick and Super Bowl champion, compared Dobbs’ preparation techniques to NFL star Drew Brees. Meachem said Dobbs throws the ball as well as any NFL QB he has played with.
2. Josh Malone — just show up
Malone is big receiver (6-foot-3, 208 pounds), who runs fast (4.40-second 40 at the NFL combine) that can catch the ball.
All Malone had to do on Friday was show up to be measured and weighed, and run fast routes and catch passes for Josh Dobbs.
There were 32 NFL teams on hand, and it’s a good bet every one of them had one eye on the relatively unheralded Malone.
3. Malik Foreman — he’s THAT fast
Remember when Malik Foreman ran down a Texas A&M player to strip the ball near the goal line and help send the game into overtime?
No, it wasn’t the first time he had made a play like that — as his local sports TV station would document.
Foreman’s speed had as much to do with the play as the hustle, and on Friday he ran an eye-popping 4.37-second time in the 40-yard dash. According to UT, that’s the fastest 40 ran by a Vol since Jonathan Wade ran a 4.36 at the 2007 NFL combine.
4. Jalen Reeves-Maybin — back in the saddle
Perhaps no one had as much to gain on Friday as linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, whose season was cut short by a shoulder injury that cut his season short at four games and prevented him from going through drill work at the NFL combine earlier this month.
Reeves-Maybin put his impressive athleticism on display, showing out with a 4.65-second 40-yard dash which would have ranked fifth among the linebackers and the NFL combine.
The 6-foot, 230-pounder also showed his explosive nature with a 35 1/2-inch vertical jump and a 117-inch broad jump.
A powerful player and tackling machine, UT greatly missed Reeves-Maybin’s ability to make plays from sideline to sideline this season.
No player was missed more this season than Reeves-Maybin.
5. Derek Barnett — ready to work
Barnett didn’t have an exception field workout, but the 6-2, 264-pounder likely knew he wouldn’t. Still, it’s Barnett’s nature to want to work, and so the fact that he ran a 4.9-second 40 and managed only 20 reps on the bench press is not likely to dissuade the NFL teams that have been attracted by his attitude and production.
As interesting as the NFL combine and field event testing is, football is a game played on the field at the end of the day, and Barnett has proven the most consistent pass rusher in SEC history with three seasons of double-digit sacks.
The NFL personnel on hand was impressive, and so were many of the workouts and times, but at the end of the day, the film will not lie.
(Results from Tennessee pro day)
unofficial results from events participated in on Friday
Player, Height, Weight, 40-yard dash, Vertical Jump, Broad Jump, 20-yard shuttle, 60 shuttle
LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, 6-0, 230, 4.65 (40), 35.5 (VJ), 117 (BJ), 4.44 (20 shuttle), 11.85 (60 shuttle)
DE Corey Vereen 6-1, 254, 4.82 (40), 28.5 (VJ), 113 (BJ), 4.44 (20 shuttle), 12.20 (60 shuttle), 26 reps (bench)
OL Dylan Wiesman 6-3 1/2, 309, 5.04 (40), 28.5 (VJ), 105 (BJ), 4.85 (20 shuttle), 27 reps (bench)
LB Kenny Bynum 6-1, 234, 4.74 (40), 28 (VJ), 106 (BJ), 4.40 (20 shuttle), 12.34 (60 shuttle), 20 reps (bench)
TE Jason Croom 6-4, 252, 4.63 (40), 34 (VJ), 120 (BJ), 4.44 (20 shuttle), 12.00 (60 shuttle) 24 reps (bench)
CB Malik Foreman 5-9 1/2, 188, 4.37 (40), 35.5 (VJ), 121 (BJ), 4.23 (20 shuttle), 11.63 (60 shuttle) 11 reps (bench)
DE LaTroy Lewis 6-3, 254, 4.81 (40), 32 (VJ), 119 (BJ), 4.31 (20 shuttle), 12.63 (60 shuttle), 21 reps (bench)
DT Danny O’Brien 6-1, 288, 5.12 (40), 29 (VJ), 103 (BJ) 4.47 (20 shuttle), 25 reps (bench)
DE Derek Barnett 6-2, 264, 4.9 (40), 31 (VJ), 112 (BJ), 4.48 (20 shuttle), 20 reps (bench),
DB Cam Sutton 5-10, 187, 4.15 (20 shuttle)
RB Alvin Kamara 5-10, 213, 4.25 (20 shuttle)
*WR Robert Meachem 6-1 1/2, 225, 4.58 (40)
* 32-year-old NFL veteran, former Vol