Alontae Taylor Becomes the First Tennessee Player Drafted in 2022 Draft

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    Former Tennessee cornerback Alontae Taylor has officially been selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 49th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Taylor was selected with the 17th pick of the second round.

    With the selection, Taylor now becomes Tennessee’s first player to be drafted this year. In addition, Taylor now becomes the sixth active player on the New Orleans Saints roster. The Saints also have former Vols Alvin Kamara, Marquez Callaway, Bryce Thompson, Shy Tuttle, and Ethan Wolf.

    “Taylor primarily lined up at corner at Tennessee, but he’s versatile enough to play safety, and the Saints may play him there,” ESPN’s Eddie Muench wrote on Friday night. “Marcus Williams signed with the Ravens, free-agent signing Marcus Maye is coming off an Achilles injury and Malcolm Jenkins retired. Taylor should also make an immediate impact on special-teams.”

    By the end of Taylor’s four-year career in Knoxville, the middle-Tennessee native was a fan favorite among Vol Nation. Few will forget screaming, “Cookies!” following a Taylor interception during his final season.

    “I feel like I gave my all to the University of Tennessee football program but also just the University of Tennessee,” Taylor said in a draft special from Tennessee Athletics.

    Taylor finished his career at Tennessee with 162 total tackles – 115 solo and 47 assisted. In addition, Taylor also hauled in four interceptions over the course of his four years, with his first touchdown coming in 2021 against Kentucky.

    In addition to Tennessee’s Pro Day in Knoxville this spring, Taylor was invited out to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Taylor’s raw speed was on full display as the former Volunteer ran a 4.36 40-yard-dash, which was good for the 14th fastest time among all players at the workout.

    The New Orleans Saints finished the 2021 season second in the NFC South with an overall record of 9-8.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.