Tennessee football had Derek Barnett and Alvin Kamara both on the 2016. In future years, fans will wonder how in the world they did not win more than nine games that year. The point will be driven further home when the other Vols, including Joshua Dobbs, show their ability to be regular NFL guys in the future.
Kamara would not be the top former Vol in the NFL for any other team. But I cautiously talked about him potentially breaking out before last year for the same reason I listed John Kelly as an honorable mention this year. Both guys play in systems that allow them to flourish.
In Kamara’s case, the New Orleans Saints have always been at their very best under Drew Brees and Sean Payton with speedy backs who can catch passes out of the backfield. Remember Reggie Bush? He was a key to the Super Bowl team. After him there was Darren Sproles, a key to the Brees 5,000-yard passing season.
That profile is exactly what Kamara fits. It’s why he averaged over six yards a carry last year and had 728 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground while catching 81 passes for 826 yards and five touchdowns.
Simply put, Kamara was a playmaker every time he got the ball, and he figures to take even another great step in that regard this year. So because of the system, he’s the top former Tennessee football player in the league.
Overall, the departure of Peyton Manning opened up the top spot on this list very quickly. Jason Witten made it even easier. The new guys taking the baton, however, have a ton of potential. And Kamara and Barnett both will be household superstar names by the end of this year.