Tennessee athletics director Phillip Fulmer criticized a couple of former Vols without naming names on Friday. The former Tennessee head football coach said that a couple of players “probably should still be here.”
The Vols saw three players leave early for the draft, with each being selected over the weekend. Here are Fulmer’s full comments, via Marshall Hughes.
Phillip Fulmer on Vols who are trying to enter NFL: "I’m for everybody that wants to go out and be drafted and I’m pulling for all those kids. I think a couple of them probably should be here still but they chose that and life goes on. We’ll go on without them..." #Vols pic.twitter.com/ksT1qfCICN— Marshall Hughes (@marshallhughes) April 27, 2018
“I’m for everybody that wants to go out and be drafted. I’m pulling for all those kids,” Fulmer said. “I think a couple of them probably should be here still, but you know they chose that and life goes on — we’ll go on without them. I hope they go on, get drafted and do super for us.”
You can probably point to John Kelly and Kahlil McKenzie as Fulmer’s targets there, each of whom went in the sixth round. You won’t often hear me criticize anyone for going and making their money, but McKenzie’s case is a little puzzling.
The Chiefs drafted the former defensive tackle to be an offensive guard, which remains a position of need for Tennessee. We’ve seen the Vols flip several positions during spring practice, which included defensive tackles like Eric Crosby, Greg Emerson and Matthew Butler moving to offensive guard.
McKenzie would have been an immediate candidate to do the same, had he stayed. Instead of figuring out a new position at the NFL level, McKenzie could have done it for a year in college, with a shot at improving his draft stock.
Hindsight is 20-20, but you can just chalk that up as one final frustration to McKenzie’s time at Tennessee. Hopefully Kahlil gets a fair shake and is given some time to figure out his new spot in Kansas City.