The 10 best Tennessee Volunteers in the NFL
After two consecutive seasons of not having a player taken, Tennessee had six players selected in the first four rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Those six will join a group of former Vols who have produced for some time now in the NFL. One season removed from Peyton Manning being in the league, let’s take a look at the top 10 Vols currently in the NFL.
1. Jason Witten
Witten is a 10-time Pro Bowl tight end heading into his 15th NFL season. He has 1,089 receptions, 11,888 receiving yards and 63 touchdowns in a career played solely with the Dallas Cowboys. In March, he signed a four-year contract extension through 2021.
2. Eric Berry
Eric Berry might be best known for overcoming cancer a couple years ago, but he’s also been a heck of a player from Day One in the NFL.
A Pro Bowl starter at safety as a rookie in 2010, Berry has been a workhorse and team leader for the Kansas City Chiefs ever since. He proved his toughness and resolve coming back from an ACL injury that cost him almost all of the 2011 season and then returning from his 2014 battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in less than a year.
In 86 NFL career games, Berry has produced 14 interceptions, five touchdowns and 367 tackles.
3. Malik Jackson
A Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowl defensive lineman, Jackson has been a factor for Denver and now Jacksonville in 78 career games. He has 21 sacks, 136 tackles, 21 pass defections, two forced fumbles and one safety in five seasons.
4. Dustin Colquitt
The 12-year pro has been a steady presence punting for the Chiefs. A two-time Pro Bowler, Colguitt has played in 190 games and has 966 punt attempts. He has at least a 62-yard punt as a long in each season. He averages 44.8 yards per punt with a career-long of 81 yards.
5. Britton Colquitt
The younger brother of Dustin, Britton Colquitt has put together a solid NFL career, too. He is a six-year pro and won a Super Bowl with Denver during fellow Volunteer Peyton Manning’s final NFL season.
Colquitt, who joined the Browns in 2016, is a Pro Bowl punter who has recorded a 60-yard punt during each season and has a career long of 67 yards.
6. Ramon Foster
Foster has played 116 NFL games, all with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Foster has started 101 games since 2009 and has held the left guard starting position over the last four seasons after playing both left and right guard in his first four seasons.
7. Ja’Wuan James
James has solidified his role as the Miami Dolphins’ starting right tackle. James has started in all 39 games that he has appeared in since his 2014 rookie season.
8. Cordarrelle Patterson
Patterson has been a do-it-all player during his four-year NFL career. In 64 career games, Patterson has scored seven receiving touchdowns, four rushing touchdowns and five kick-return touchdowns. The two-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro has 132 receptions for 1,316 receiving yards, 333 rushing yards and 4,075 kick-return yards with a 109-yard return being his career-long.
9. Tony McDaniel
McDaniel is entering his 12th NFL season. In 148 career games, McDaniel has recorded 11.5 sacks and 161 tackles playing defensive tackle for the Jaguars, Dolphins, Seahawks and Buccaneers. He won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks and has been a Pro Bowl player.
10. Robert Ayers
Ayers has produced a steady NFL career since joining the league in 2009. He has played for the Broncos, Giants and now the Buccaneers. During his eight-year career, Ayers has played in 108 games, starting 49 at defensive end. He has 32.5 sacks, 175 tackles, 13 pass deflections and seven forced fumbles, scoring on one.