Rashaan Gaulden was drafted late Friday night in the third round at pick number 85 by the Carolina Panthers.
Gaulden is headed to a winning franchise- the Panthers have made the playoffs in four of the past five seasons. The former Vol is excited to be on the same team as one of the best defensive players in the world, Luke Kuechly.
“I feel like I have the alpha dog mentality, but at the same time I know who is the alpha back there – definitely Kuechly,” said Gaulden. “I can’t wait to line up next to him and be able to pick his brain and be able to show him that I’m worthy of being able to line up on the same field as him.”
Rashaan Gaulden’s versatility is his biggest strength. One Panther scout described him as a “swiss army knife.” Gaulden will be tasked with guarding tight ends, stopping the run in the box, while also matching up with receivers in the slot and on the back end. He can play multiple positions on the field effectively, but he said that he’s prepared to play safety in the NFL.
“I can execute safety at a very high level, and that’s where the Panthers see me at,” Gaulden said. “When I came up to visit Carolina, I thought I made a pretty good impression on the coaches. I sat down and talked to them, and they let me know where they saw me as a player.”
As one of the lone bright spots on an otherwise disastrous 2017 football season, Vol fans were a little surprised and disappointed when he announced that he’d be entering the draft and would forgo his final season of eligibility. However, getting selected in the third round proves that he made the right decision.