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Tennessee Football: Can Kamal Hadden continue the successful tradition of sixth-round Vols taken by Kansas City Chiefs in NFL Draft?

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Just being a defensive back with the Kansas City Chiefs leaves former Tennessee Football players with big shoes to fill given what Eric Berry has done there. However, being a sixth-round NFL Draft pick generates even more expectations set by another beloved former Vol, one currently on the team.

Defensive back Kamal Hadden, who was taken with the 211th overall pick by the two-time defending Super Bowl champions, will be teammates with former Tennessee Football offensive lineman Trey Smith, a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Smith is now a starter at guard and has been a key anchor for both recent championships.

Just like Smith, Hadden fell in the draft because of his injury woes. He was beginning to make a name for himself with his elite cornerback play for Tennessee Football in 2023 before suffering a season-ending injury, which cost him a better spot but also cost the Vols’ secondary.

However, his instincts on the ball that were clear with his game tape allowed him to be drafted anyway, and he certainly deserved it. He’s also going to a place in Kansas City that, for all its offense, is actually known for developing cornerbacks under Steve Spagnuolo.

Hadden playing in the right system combined with his real talent when healthy and the Chiefs’ history of success with former Vols should all work in his favor. Andy Reid and co. are likely to be much more willing to give him a shot, and they will particularly give him leeway this year as he recovers from his injury.

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Then there’s the simple fact that, for all the Vols’ secondary woes, Alontae Taylor has been a solid cornerback with the New Orleans Saints. Perhaps there’s more faith in Willie Martinez, Tim Banks and Josh Heupel developing defensive backs among scouts than there is among fans.

As a result, Hadden is likely in a solid spot. Sure, it would have been ideal for him to go higher in the NFL Draft, but that just wasn’t likely given his injury. Instead, he is going to arguably the most well-run franchise in the league, one that likes to develop players at his position. Perhaps this will work out better long-term.

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