The All-Time Tennessee Volunteers NFL Team
Whether it's been Phillip Fulmer or someone else at the coaching helm, Tennessee has always sent great talent to the NFL. Peyton Manning may be the most famous Volunteer of all-time, but others have made great impacts as well in the NFL. Not too many schools can boast about a defensive end with 198 career sacks, someone who rushed for 2,000 yards in a season, and the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. While this team has positions that are more noteworthy than others, there really isn't a glaring weakness.
Quarterback: Peyton Manning—Manning is the NFL's biggest star today and he cemented his status as an NFL legend long ago. He's already a three-time MVP and could shatter some of Brett Favre's career passing records in the future, depending on who retires first.
Bust: Heath Shuler
Running Backs: Beattie Feathers and Jamal Lewis—Feathers was the first back to rush for a 1000 yards in a season and still holds a league record for yards-per-carry in a season with 8.4!
Jamal Lewis ran for over 2,000 yards during the 2003 season and currently is in his 10th NFL season.
Honorable Mentions: Tom Tracy, Travis Henry, James Stewart, Reggie Cobb, Shawn Bryson, Charlie Garner and Haskel Stanback
Wide Receivers: Stanley Morgan and Anthony Miller—Morgan was one of the best deep threats in NFL history. He led the NFL in yards-per-reception for three consecutive years and had a 19.2 ypr average for his career.
Miller was a five-time Pro Bowler during his 10 year NFL tenure and had 63 career touchdown receptions. There's still some great receivers on the bench. Just imagine Manning throwing in a four wide receiver and one tight end set for this squad.
Honorable Mentions: Peerless Price, Carl Pickens, Willie Gault, Tim McGee, Alvin Harper, Donte Stallworth, Kelley Washington, Bill Anderson, Ed Cifers, and Robert Meachem
Bust: Marcus Nash
Tight End: Jason Witten—Witten is the prototypical tight end in today's NFL. He's enormous at 6-5 and over 250 pounds, but can still make plays like a wide receiver in crunch time. Witten has played in the last five Pro Bowls and will likely play in a sixth after the 2009 season concludes.
Honorable Mention: David Martin
Offensive Tackles: Tim Irwin and Chad Clifton—Irwin played 13 NFL seasons, including 12 with the Vikings from 1981-1993.
Chad Clifton is currently in his 10th season with the Green Bay Packers and has been among the most underrated offensive tackles in the NFL in that time.
Honorable Mentions: Dick Huffman, Richard Cooper, Bruce Wilkerson, and Antone Daves
Offensive Guards: Raleigh McKenzie and Jack Stroud—McKenzie was part of "The Hogs" and helped the Redskins win two Super Bowls during the Gibbs era. He was voted one of the 70 Greatest Redskins in 2002.
Stroud was one of the league's top lineman during the 1950's and 1960's for the New Yor Giants. He went to three Pro Bowls and helped the Giants win the 1956 NFL title.
Honorable Mentions: John Gordy, Harry Galbreath, Mickey Marvin, and Cosey Coleman
Center: Bob Johnson—Johnson played for the Bengals during the first 12 seasons of their existence and was an AFL All-Star as a rookie in 1968.
Honorable Mention: Trey Teague and Scott Wells
Defensive Ends: Reggie White and Doug Atkins—Can any other university match this Hall of Fame defensive end duo? Reggie White is second all-time in sacks and may be the greatest ever at his position.
Atkins helped define the Bears image as "The Monsters of Midway" and played in 205 career games.
Honorable Mentions: Darris McCord, Steve DeLong, Chris Mims, Chuck Smith, Leonard Little, and Shaun Ellis
Rising: Robert Ayers
Defensive Tackles: Albert Haynesworth and John Henderson—Haynesworth gets bashed for getting hurt a lot and for being a $100 million man, but he's hands down the best defensive tackle in today's NFL.
During his time in Jacksonville, Henderson has been a big reason why the Jaguars have been one of the league's better defensive teams.
Honorable Mentions: Paul Lipscomb and Darwin Walker
Outside Linebackers: Mike Stratton and Mike L. Cofer—Stratton was one pro football's top linebackers during his tenure with the Bills in the 1960's in both the AFL and NFL.
Cofer recorded 62.5 sacks in 10 NFL seasons with the Lions.
Honorable Mentions: Steve Kiner, Paul Naumoff, Carl Zander, and Omar Gaither
Middle Linebacker: Al Wilson—Before injuries shortened his career to only eight seasons, Wilson was arguably the best middle linebacker in the NFL not named Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher.
Honorable Mentions: Jack Reynolds, Mike Lucci, and Jerod Mayo
Cornerbacks: Terry McDaniel and Dale Carter—McDaniel went to five consecutive Pro Bowls from 1992-1996 after being chosen ninth overall in the 1988 draft.
Carter was the 1992 Defensive Rookie Of The Year and made four Pro Bowls during his time with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Honorable Mentions: Pete Athas, Dave Thomas, DeRon Jenkins, Jeremy Lincoln, and Jabair Greer
Free Safety: Deon Grant—Grant has been one of the better safeties in the NFL during his 10-year career with three different teams.
Strong Safety: Bill Bates—The undrafted free agent played 15 seasons with the Cowboys. He lasted through the end of the Landry era to the glory days of the 1990s.
Honorable Mentions: Gibril Wilson and Jason Allen
Coming Soon: Eric Berry
Kicker: Bert Rechichar—Rechichar was the kicker for the 1958 and 1959 NFL champion Baltimore Colts.
Honorable Mention: Fuad Reveiz
Punter: Ron Widby—Widby made the Pro Bowl in 1971 after winning a ring with the Cowboys.
Honorable Mentions: Herman Weaver, Tom Hutton, Ron Widby, Craig Culquitt, and Dustin Colquitt
Returner: Terry Fair—Fair led the league in kick return average as a rookie in 1998.
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