Sports Illustrated recently compiled a list of their top 400 active NFL players, and several former Vols made the list.
According to Sports Illustrated, five former Vols are among the 400 best NFL players currently in the league. Three former Vols are in the top 150 players and two are among the top 100 players in the league.
Here’s where all the former Vols rank along with what Sports Illustrated had to say about each player:
Robert Ayers, Tampa Bay, DL: 252
Ayers isn’t outstanding in any one area but does everything well. If he were a baseball player, he’d be a five-tool guy who bats .275, hits 15 homers and steals a dozen bases every year.
Ramon Foster, Pittsburgh, G: 219
Foster is a controlled, sound blocker who works to finish plays.
Malik Jackson, Jacksonville, DL: 153
Jackson was an outstanding five-technique in Denver, where he often sparred with tight ends and offensive tackles (sometimes at the same time). He was used more as a three-technique in Jacksonville, where he’s expected to shoot gaps. He was effective doing so last season, but in an honest moment, you wonder if he’d admit that he’s more comfortable at five-tech than three-tech.
Jason Witten, Dallas, TE: 79
Put on the future Hall of Famer’s film from seven years ago and compare it to today. You won’t find much difference.
Eric Berry, Kansas City, S: 27
Berry can play centerfield, high-hole safety, lower-hole safety, split-safety (for Cover 2 and Quarters coverage), dime linebacker and man-to-man against tight ends anywhere in the formation. That alone is commendable. Then add in his playmaking prowess.
All five of the former Vols listed in this ranking have been in the league since at least 2012. But with six new Vols entering the NFL after this year’s draft, Tennessee could be in for a new wave of talented former players in the league.