Tennessee football: Former Vols DT Shy Tuttle signs with Saints

BRISTOL, TN - SEPTEMBER 10: Teammates surround defensive lineman Shy Tuttle
BRISTOL, TN - SEPTEMBER 10: Teammates surround defensive lineman Shy Tuttle /

Tennessee football had no NFL Draft picks taken, but the defensive line had names. Former Volunteers tackle Shy Tuttle signed with the New Orleans Saints.

After no NFL Draft picks, the best chance for Tennessee football to be well-represented in the pros was at defensive line. And the most consistent player over four year from the Vols on the line was the first one among those players taken.

Shy Tuttle, who was a four-year player at defensive tackle despite suffering back to back season-ending injuries, inked a deal with the New Orleans Saints following the draft. Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans said on Twitter that multiple sources were reporting Tuttle signed with them.

Heading into the 2018 season, Tuttle was the most consistent and recognizable player on the defensive line for Tennessee football. However, he had to move over to nose tackle in Jeremy Pruitt’s 3-4 scheme, and at 6’3″ 300 pounds, that took away chances for him to make big plays.

Still, he managed to make an impact. Tuttle finished the year with 33 total tackles, three tackles for a loss and a sack. He also had an interception and blocked a field goal, proving he could make plays in different ways.

Tuttle was a team player accepting the role of nose tackle. It was clear that he would have to open up opportunities for other people in that role, and he was clearly willing to do that, demonstrating his unselfishness.

New Orleans could low-key be a great landing spot for Tuttle as well. The Saints were going to look at finding defensive tackle help in free agency, and the arrival of Tuttle allows for some competition up front. He could definitely make the rotation as a result, at least as a depth guy.

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The biggest strength for Tennessee football last season was the defensive line, and Tuttle was the glue-guy of it, albeit being the least glamorous player. He has a chance to be a great fit in New Orleans as a result, and he can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4 system. His only hurdle has to be proving he can remain healthy over a period of time.