Five Vols selected in 2022 NFL Draft
Three defensive players and two offensive starters have new homes in the National Football League
LAS VEGAS, Tenn. (WVLT) - The first Vol in the Josh Heupel era has been selected to the NFL.
The New Orleans Saints select Alontae Taylor in the second round at pick 49 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Taylor was a lockdown corner for the Vols, playing in 45 games with 31 starts.
During his senior season, he started all 12 games with a career-best 60 tackles, six pass breakups, and two interceptions. He recorded his first-career pick-six at No. 18 Kentucky (11/6), returning his second interception of the season 56 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter while adding four tackles against the Wildcats.
He had a career-high 10 tackles against Georgia during the 2021 season.
Not much later, another VFL was taken off the board in the NFL Draft.
Velus Jones Jr. was taken in the third round with the 71st pick by the Chicago Bears.
Jones spent his last two seasons on Rocky Top. At UT he caught 84 passes for 1,087 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In three seasons at USC, he logged 36 receptions for 347 yards, plus 1,947 kickoff return yards.
Matt Butler is headed to Sin City. The Las Vegas Raiders selected the senior defensive lineman with the 175h overall pick.
Butler elected to come back for his super senior season and raised his draft stock significantly. The interior lineman appeared in 53 games with 26 starts in his five seasons. Butler was responsible for 152 total tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks for a loss of 55 yards throughout his career.
Knoxville native Cade Mays is headed east to play for the Carolina Panthers. Mays is a versatile offensive lineman who has played every position on the line and was an All-SEC recipient this past season.
He started his career at Georgia, playing his freshman and sophomore seasons in Athens before transferring to Tennessee in January 2020. Mays started in all 17 games he played for Tennessee over the last two years.
Theo Jackson - a Nashville native is staying put in the midstate. The former Tennessee defensive back was taken by the Titans with the 204th overall pick in the sixth round.
Jackson enjoyed the best season of his career and was the leader of the defense this past season. The All-SEC Second Team defender started 12 games at the STAR position and finished the year with 78 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 12 pass breakups and one interception (returned for a TD).
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