Tennessee football edge rushers 2022 preview: Vols’ biggest defensive advantage

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Tim Banks switched Tennessee football back to a 4-3 with a heavy focus on running the nickel, but that didn’t change the principle of the edge rusher. The Vols just moved from having two starting edge rushers to one, and he often played defensive end opposite the hybrid defensive lineman, Caleb Tremblay and Ja’Quain Blakely in last year’s case.

Anyway, there were three such edge rushers on the team last year, and they could be considered outside linebackers just as much. All three were in on between 300 and 400 snaps, and all three are back. However, there is one clear-cut starter of the group who brings tons of hype.

More depth was added this year to the group as well. Our preview of Tennessee football’s 2022 edge rushers will take a look at that depth and analyze what all three returners bring to the table. As always, we’ll have a slide for returning starters, returning contributors and backups and newcomers before closing with questions and a final take.

Sep 18, 2021; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles quarterback Willie Miller (6) is tackled by Tennessee Volunteers linebacker Tyler Baron (9) and linebacker Roman Harrison (30) during the first half at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s gone: Nobody

Like we mentioned in the opening slide, nobody is gone from this group. If you counted just defensive ends in a standard 4-3, Tremblay and Blakely would both be on here, and both of them are gone. Also, Dominic Bailey, Austin Lewis and Jayson Jenkins would be on here. It would make for an interesting combination of players.

However, with the way edge rushers are more like outside linebackers and separate from defensive ends in this system, it made more sense to lump those defensive ends with the linemen. That makes for the reason that nobody is gone among edge rushers.

This is a huge deal too, as Tennessee football needed more depth at this position specifically. The Vols have had some deadly weapons here in recent years, most notably Darrell Taylor, who was taken in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. They have multiple players who could fill his shoes this upcoming year.

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