That's why the Bengals sent defensive line coach Jacob Burney and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to work out Barnett at Tennessee's pro day on Friday. You can see them in the below video, watching intently.
Last season, Barnett recorded 13 sacks while breaking Reggie White’s school sack record (totaled 33 while at Tennessee; previous mark was 32). He finished the year with 19 tackles for loss, an interception, 12 QB hurries and three pass breakups.
The 6’3”, 259-pound pass-rusher will need to bulk up a little for 4-3 teams like the Bengals to take him, but he’s more than capable of playing on the end in the NFL.
If the Bengals don't take Barnett, several other Vols prospects are worth watching out for. Among them is running back Alvin Kamara, who is projected to go in the late first/early second-round range, making him a candidate for the 41st pick.
The former Vol was an explosive and elusive runner in college while playing behind Jalen Hurd for much of his career. Kamara still managed to run for 1,294 yards and 16 touchdowns on 210 carries (6.2 avg.) while catching 74 balls for 683 yards and seven scores.
But Kamara is guy whose smaller frame (5’10” and 214 pounds), not to mention durability (two missed games in 2016), will likely keep him from going too high in this draft. He also has character concerns from his days at Alabama, where he was suspended multiple times before transferring to a junior college. The Bengals appear to be intent on taking a running back early in this draft, so watch out for Kamara if a running back isn't drafted in Round 1.
Another Vol to watch for is wide receiver Josh Malone. The 6’3”, 208-pound Malone caught 50 passes for 972 yards (19.4 avg.) and 11 scores this past season. Despite the great production, Malone is projected to be drafted in the Round 5-6 range. The Bengals may look to add multiple receivers in this draft and Malone could be an ideal candidate.
Unless the Bengals trade AJ McCarron, don't expect Vols quarterback Joshua Dobbs to be one of Cincinnati's 11 draft selections. Dobbs was an effective dual-threat runner in the SEC, but his passing skills leave a lot to be desired, which is why some experts think he should move to tight end in the NFL. For now, Dobbs is set on playing quarterback, so he's someone to watch for on Day 3 if McCarron does get dealt.
One other Vol to keep an eye on is Cameron Sutton. A No. 1 one cornerback for much of his college career, Sutton would be getting a lot more hype in this draft if not for an injury-plagued senior season. CBS currently projects Sutton as a Round 3 prospect, but he’s good enough to go higher, so if the Bengals get him in Round 3 or later, he could be the steal of their draft.
Which Vols are you interested in the Bengals drafting?