The Las Vegas Raiders selected Tennessee defensive lineman Matthew Butler in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Las Vegas selected Butler with the 169th pick in the draft after selecting Dylan Parham, Zamir White and Neil Farrell Jr. with its first three selections selections.
Butler spent five seasons seasons at Tennessee and was a major contributor in the final three, recording 40-plus tackles in all three seasons.
The Raleigh, North Carolina native considered pursuing his professional football dreams a season ago, but decided to come back for a new coaching staff and well respected defensive line coach Rodney Garner.
“When it comes down to it, it’s a lot about discipline, not only on the football field but off,” Butler said. “There’s all kinds of stuff that goes into being a college football student-athlete, and then you turn around and actually take the football part of it, and coach Garner is just leaps and bounds ahead of the game, all around the country. We’re able to apply that to our game and work on it together, and then that brings us together closer, and then having several people with the same mindset off the field helps a ton as well.”
The decision to return for one more collegiate season paid dividends. Like all of the former Vols in the 2022 NFL Draft, Butler’s best collegiate season was his last one.
Butler recorded a career-high 47 tackles in 2021 while recording more tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (5) then he did in the rest of his collegiate career combined.
However, the interior defensive lineman did more than just put up big numbers. Butler was the Vols’ top defensive leader, playing with a tenacity that improved his NFL stock. The 6-foot-4, 295 pound defensive lineman played an absurd number of snaps too, earning over 100 more snaps than any other Tennessee defensive lineman.
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