Five former Tennessee players were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, resulting in the most selections from Tennessee in the draft since 2017. The Vols sent two to the league in both 2021 and 2020, none in 2019, and three players in 2018.
Below are social media reactions and expert grades for all five of Tennessee’s NFL Draft picks.
Alontae Taylor – DB – New Orleans Saints | Second Round, Pick No. 49
Alontae Taylor is long as hell and can fly. Although he is a little stiff. Taylor, Marshon Lattimore, Paulson Adebo, CJ Gardner-Johnson, Marcus Maye… @Saints secondary is getting pretty pretty pretty good
— Chris Simms (@CSimmsQB) April 30, 2022
Tennessee defensive back Alontae Taylor is another "Saints Kinda Guy."
• Smart & mature (Communications degree)
• Versatile (capable of playing CB or S)
• Athletic (former QB & WR)
• Productive & durable (4-year starter)
— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) April 30, 2022
#Saints fans you will thoroughly enjoy Alontae Taylor from #Tennessee. He’s an incredibly intelligent football player, and just as impressive off the field. He gives you value being a guy that can play corner, and also give you some safety help if needed. #NFLDraft
— Jacob Hester (@JacobHester18) April 30, 2022
Alontae Taylor Selection Grades:
Velus Jones Jr. – WR – Chicago Bears | Third Round, Pick No. 71
Velus Jones Jr. Thoughts:
• Older than Darnell Mooney…
• Took him 5 years to become a starter in college…
• High-end return man / special teamer
• VERY fast with decent size
• Essentially Jakeem Grant / Tarik Cohen replacement as Joker
Overall, a head-scratcher. #Bears
— Joseph Herff (@JosephHerffNFL) April 30, 2022
Velus Jones Jr. is a very good weapon with the ball in his hands.
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) April 30, 2022
Velus Jones Jr Selection Grades:
Matthew Butler – DL – Las Vegas Raiders | Fifth Round, Pick No. 175
I had DT Matthew Butler as #Raiders pick in the 4th round in my 7-round mock. They get him in the late 5th round. Well done.
— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) April 30, 2022
— cynthia frelund (@cfrelund) April 30, 2022
Matthew Butler Selection Grades:
Cade Mays – OL – Carolina Panthers | Sixth Round, Pick No. 199
Cade Mays offers the @Panthers a ton of positional versatility. He can play anywhere on the OL.
Strong bloodlines too. His Dad was an All-SEC OL and captain on the 1994 Tennessee team.
— Anish Shroff (@AnishESPN) April 30, 2022
My favorite draft pick in every round:
1(10) Garrett Wilson WR – Jets
2(38) Arnold Ebiketie – Falcons
3(73) Jelani Woods – Colts
4(136) Cordell Volson – Bengals
5(144) Sam Howell – Commanders
6(199) Cade Mays – Panthers
7(257) Marquis Hayes – Cardinals
— Cole Davis (@ColeDavisNFL) May 2, 2022
Cade Mays Selection Grades:
Theo Jackson – DB – Tennessee Titans | Sixth Round, Pick No. 204
New #Titans DB Theo Jackson said the scheme change last year allowed him to play a little more freely and rely on his film study to make plays. Jackson finished with 78 tackles (9 for a loss), 12 PBUs, one interception in 2021.
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) April 30, 2022
Some intriguing numbers for new #Titans DB Theo Jackson, the former Vol, in 2021:
–78 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 9 TFL, 12 QB Hits.
— John Glennon (@glennonsports) April 30, 2022
Theo Jackson Selection Grade:
- Clutch Points‘ Benedetto Vitale: B-
- “Tennessee didn’t need much help on defense entering the draft, but the Titans selected a solid prospect in Theo Jackson. He will likely play safety and has the potential to replace Dan Cruickshank as the main backup option. Additionally, Jackson can be a monster for the special teams unit, which could be where he excels throughout his career.”