After his four years at Tennessee, cornerback Cam Sutton was selected with the No. 94 overall pick in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2017 NFL Draft. After two years in the NFL, Sutton has largely been a role player on defense and special teams for the Steelers.
That looks like it could change in 2019.
ESPN had reporters who cover each NFL team name a training camp MVP for all 32 NFL teams, and Jeremy Fowler designated Sutton as the Steelers’ MVP, stating that the former Vol looks primed to make a bigger impact this upcoming season.
“The third-year player is finally putting it all together, registering several interceptions during training camp,” Fowler writes. “He was always a smart player but didn’t make enough plays in his second year. Now he is making them and looks comfortable in the scheme.”
The 5-foot-11, 188-pound defensive back has flashed his potential in his first two years in the NFL, but inconsistency has plagued him. After playing in five games and making one start as a rookie in 2017, Sutton appeared in 15 of Pittsburgh’s 16 games last season and started their Week 2 match-up with Kansas City. He forced a fumble in that game and totaled three tackles. Sutton recorded his first career interception the week before against Cleveland.
In 20 career games (two starts), Sutton has totaled 27 tackles, an interception, four passes defended, and a forced fumble.
Sutton’s versatility has made him appealing to the Steelers, and they implemented him in a variety of ways in 2018. With fellow third-year player Mike Hilton as his main competition for the nickel corner spot on the Steelers’ roster, Sutton could play his way into a larger role this upcoming season.
As a Vol, Sutton finished his Tennessee career as the Vols’ all-time leader in passes defended. Sutton’s 30 pass break-ups and seven interceptions helped him break the school record with most passes defended in a career with 37. He started all 45 games he played as a Vol, and he was a multi-time All-SEC player and was named a First Team All-American by Sporting News in 2015. He was also a Freshman All-American by multiple outlets after the 2013 season.
Sutton finished his Tennessee career with 127 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, a sack, seven interceptions, 37 passes defended, three forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries on defense. On special teams, Sutton returned three punts for touchdowns and had a career punt return average of 14.6 yards a return. He set the single-season school record for most punt return yards in a season with his 467 return yards in 2015.
But Sutton wasn’t the only former Vol who was named a camp MVP by an ESPN reporter.
While his time at Tennessee is far less memorable than Sutton’s, Preston Williams has caught a ton of attention in the NFL preseason. Williams went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he was signed as an undrafted free agent on May 9th by the Miami Dolphins. And he’s performed so well that Cameron Wolfe of ESPN thinks the rookie was the Dolphins’ camp MVP.
“No Dolphins player outside of the quarterbacks has created a louder on-field buzz than Williams this training camp,” Wolfe wrote. “The 6-foot-5, 218-pound undrafted receiver out of Colorado State has thrilled the fan base with highlight one-handed grabs, consistent big plays on throws from Josh Rosen and a strong feel that he belongs not just on the roster but in the starting lineup. Said Dolphins CB Xavien Howard, ‘That guy can be special. … There’s so much room for improvement with him, but he’s going to be a No. 1 receiver one day.’ Now the Dolphins just need to find a way to get him significant playing time in 2019.”
Williams joined Tennessee as a five-star signee in their 2015 class, and he had expectations heaped upon him immediately. Due to a myriad of reasons — some of which were Williams’ own fault — he never lived up to that billing at UT, and he ended up transferring off the team prior to the Vols’ contest with Alabama in the 2016 season.
The embattled Williams would later transfer to Colorado State, and he was a standout for the Rams, catching 96 passes for 1,345 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2018 after sitting out the 2017 season.
Williams went undrafted not because of a lack of skill but because of off-field issues. In 2018, the wideout pleaded guilty to an assault charge after police said he shoved his girlfriend to prevent her from moving from the off-campus apartment the two shared.
Despite that and a disappointing showing at his Pro Day, Williams was picked up by the Dolphins. And after his superb four-catch, 97-yard performance in the first week of the NFL preseason, it looks like Miami might’ve gotten a steal.
Williams totaled 16 receptions for 247 yards and two touchdowns in seven games in his two years at Tennessee.