Tennessee football: Five former Vols make SI’s ranking of top 400 current NFL players

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04: Eric Berry /

Tennessee football still fills the National Football League. Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback top 400 players had five Volunteers.

They went two years without having anybody drafted. And before that, they had four straight losing season. But Tennessee football still has a major presence in the NFL.

And SI’s MMQB top 400 NFL players for 2017 gives respect as a result. Five Vols were in that list, which was very impressive.

The list began with Robert Ayers of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who came in at No. 252. Ramon Foster of the Pittsburgh was ahead of him at No. 219. They were teammates at the end of Phillip Fulmer’s tenure.

Following Fulmer and entering Derek Dooley’s tenure of players, Malik Jackson of the Jacksonville Jaguars came in at No. 153.

Then we go back to an earlier part of Fulmer’s tenure to name Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys, who came in at No. 79.

And finally, the top Tennessee football player currently in the NFL, Eric Berry came in at No. 27. A teammate of Ayers and Foster who also played into the Lane Kiffin era, Berry was honestly underrated.

He’s the best safety in the NFL right now and came back from cancer to reclaim that spot.

Still, five players on that list show how strong the Tennessee football program is. The Vols fell back 10 years and still managed to have some serious talent spread out across the league.

After six guys going in the first four rounds of the most recent NFL Draft, you can bet that list will expand in the near future.

Derek Barnett is almost a certain future superstar in the league, and Alvin Kamara, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Josh Malone and Cameron Sutton all have major potential.

Joshua Dobbs could eventually get on that list, but he has to wait for Ben Roethlisberger to retire first.