Tennessee football: 15 Vols who were better in the NFL

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Alvin Kamara, Tennessee Volunteers
Alvin Kamara, Tennessee Volunteers. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

Alvin Kamara shocked the New Orleans Saints by how good he was when they first took him in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. But unlike Butch Jones, when they realized his greatness, they decided to take advantage.

As a five-star commitment to Tennessee football coming out of junior college in 2015, Kamara was set to co-start with Jalen Hurd. However, he quickly proved he was better, carrying the ball just 107 times for 697 yards and seven touchdowns while catching 34 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns and returning eight punts for 100 yards and a touchdown.

So what does Jones do? He gives Kamara fewer carries in 2016, while Hurd transferred out midseason, joined the Baylor Bears, changed positions and was just selected in the NFL Draft as a tight end.

Anyway, Kamara had 103 carries for 596 yards. At least he had more touchdowns (nine) and higher receiving numbers with 40 receptions for 392 yards and four touchdowns. Kamara undoubtedly had talent, but Jones didn’t give him enough chances to be great in college.

Once the Saints drafted him, Sean Payton and Drew Brees took advantage. And in just his first two years, he’s had 314 carries for 1,611 yards and 22 touchdowns, while catching 162 passes for 1,535 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 1,573 total yards and over 16 total touchdowns a year. And he’s also a two-time Pro Bowler in those two years.

Simply put, Kamara has already surpassed his college production by a long shot thanks to good use of his talent. He is likely to move up this list as time goes on, but it’s pretty impressive that we already have him in the top 10.