VFL in NFL Update: Kongbo to IR, McKenzie and Bituli sign

KNOXVILLE, TN – NOVEMBER 02, 2019 – Linebacker Daniel Bituli #35 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the UAB Blazers and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Caleb Jones/Tennessee Athletics

By Vince Ferrara / @VinceSports

Here’s an August 31st update on transactions in the NFL involving University of Tennessee players in moves announced by the National Football League.

You’ll also find below the list of players that were at UT at one time before transferring and finishing their careers elsewhere as well as players that have local ties to the Knoxville area that did not attend the University of Tennessee.

The depth chart projections are from Ourlads.com.

Look for constant updates here on my blog “Vince’s View.” Bookmark my blog page and check back often.

Recent Roster Moves
8/25 – Bengals signed DT Reginald “Kahlil” McKenzie
8/25 – Rams signed LB Daniel Bituli
8/27 – 49ers waived DE Jonathan Kongbo
8/28 – 49ers placed Kongbo on the Reserve/Injured List

The Bengals claiming McKenzie as a DT is interesting. He played his entire career on Rocky Top at DT. He was drafted by the Chiefs as an offensive guard. He was a reserve OG for both the Chiefs and the Seahawks. The Rams signed Bituli a little later than most undrafted free agents. Then he was waived earlier this fall camp. Now he’s back to try to stick with the Rams, at least in a practice squad role. The groin injury is unfortunate for Kongbo, who after a one-year stint in the CFL with Winnipeg, finally got his shot in the NFL Kongbo cleared waivers with an injury designation, so he reverted to the 49ers’ reserve/injured list. He will be on the reserve list for the entire season unless both sides reach an injury settlement for them to part ways.

Notes and Numbers On UT Players
*31 U. of Tennessee players on expanded active NFL rosters
*3 other players are inactive on Reserve Lists
*New Orleans has most current UT players with 4
*DL is the largest position represented with 7
*19 of the 32 teams have a UT player on active rosters
*Philadelphia is the only team in the NFC East with any active VFLs
*There are 6 players that were once at U. of Tennessee but then transferred (see full list below)
*There are 6 players that didn’t attend UT, but have Knoxville/East TN ties (see full list below)
*7 Vols are projected as starters right now, excluding special teams
*Rookies: 4 VFLs, 2 one-time Vols and 3 Knoxville area non-UT players on current rosters
*7 players went to high school in Knoxville area (B. Colquitt, L. Smith, H. Smith, R. Cobb, T. Higgins, N. Cottrell, N. Gilliam)

Tennessee Volunteers On NFL Rosters as of 8/31/20 (31)
x = Rookie
AFC East (4)
TE – Jason Croom (80) Buffalo Bills   – 5th team TE
FB/TE – Jakob Johnson (47) New England Patriots   – 5th team TE
WR – Josh Malone (83) New York Jets   – 2nd team WR
DE – Kyle Phillips (98) New York Jets   – 2nd team DE
NONE – Miami Dolphins

AFC North (5)
LS – Morgan Cox (46) Baltimore Ravens   – Starting LS
S – Nigel Warrior (39) Baltimore Ravens   – 5th team SS-x
DT – Reginald “Kahlil” McKenzie (69) Cincinnati Bengals   – 3rd team NT
NT – Dan McCullers (93) Pittsburgh Steelers   – 2nd team NT
DB – Cameron Sutton (20) Pittsburgh Steelers   – 2nd team NB
NONE – Cleveland Browns

AFC South (2)
OG – Zach Fulton (73) Houston Texans   – Starting RG
QB – Joshua Dobbs (11) Jacksonville Jaguars   – 3rd team QB
NONE – Indianapolis Colts
NONE – Tennessee Titans

AFC West (3)
ILB – Alexander Johnson (45) Denver Broncos   – Starting ILB
DE – Kendal Vickers (78) Las Vegas Raiders   – 3rd team DT
TE – Jason Witten (82) Las Vegas Raiders   – Starting TE
NONE – Kansas City Chiefs
NONE – Los Angeles Chargers

NFC East (2)
DE – Derek Barnett (96) Philadelphia Eagles   – Starting DE
DT – Malik Jackson (97) Philadelphia Eagles   – 2nd Team DT
NONE – Dallas Cowboys
NONE – New York Giants
NONE – Washington Redskins

NFC North (5)
QB – Tyler Bray (9) Chicago Bears   – 3rd Team QB
WR/KR – Cordarrelle Patterson (84) Chicago Bears   – Starting WR & KR
CB – Justin Coleman (27) Detroit Lions – Starting NB
OLB – Jalen Reeves-Maybin (44) Detroit Lions   – 2nd Team OLB
P – Britton Colquitt (2) Minnesota Vikings   – Starting P
NONE – Green Bay Packers

NFC South (5)
TE – Luke Stocker (88) Atlanta Falcons – 3rd team TE
RB – Alvin Kamara (41) New Orleans Saints   – Starting RB
DT – Shy Tuttle (99) New Orleans Saints   – 3rd team NT
WR – Marquez Callaway (12) New Orleans Saints   – 6th team WR-x
TE – Ethan Wolf (86) New Orleans Saints – 5th team TE
NONE – Carolina Panthers
NONE – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West (5)
RB – John Kelly (42) Los Angeles Rams   – 4th team RB
LB – Daniel Bituli (49) Los Angeles Rams   – 5th team ILB
CB – Emmanuel Moseley (41) San Francisco 49ers   – 3rd team CB
WR – Jauan Jennings (81) San Francisco 49ers   – 6th team WR-x
DE/OLB – Darrell Taylor (58) Seattle Seahawks   – 3rd team Leo DE/OLB-x
NONE – Arizona Cardinals

Inactives (3)
OT – Ja’Wuan James (70) Denver Broncos (Opted Out for 2020 season)
P – Michael Palardy (5) Carolina Panthers (Reserve Non-Football Injury List/out for the season/torn ACL)
DE – Jonathan Kongbo (61) San Francisco 49ers (Reserve/Injured List for entire season)

UT Players In The NFL By Position (31)
QB – 2
RB – 2
WR – 4
TE – 4
FB – 1
OL – 1
DL – 7
LB – 4
DB – 4
P – 1
PK – 0
LS – 1

Free Agents To Watch from University of Tennessee
S – Micah Abernathy
S – Eric Berry
P – Dustin Colquitt
P – Trevor Daniel
P – Matt Darr
TE – Alex Ellis
DB – Rashaan Gaulden
LB – Colton Jumper
LB – LaTroy Lewis
OL – James Stone
DL – Jordan Williams
TE – Dominick Wood-Anderson

One-Time Vols That Transferred To Other Schools On NFL Rosters (6)
x = Rookie
TE – Eli Wolf (87) Baltimore Ravens (U. of Tennessee/Georgia) -x   – 4th team TE
TE – Lee Smith (85) Buffalo Bills (Powell HS/U. of Tennessee/Marshall)   – 3rd team TE
TE – Daniel Helm (–) Kansas City Chiefs (U. of Tennessee/Duke)   – 5th team TE
P – Tommy Townsend (5) Kansas City Chiefs (U. of Tennessee/Florida) – x   – 2nd team P
QB – Nathan Peterman (3) Las Vegas Raiders (U. of Tennessee/Pitt)   – 3rd team QB
WR – Preston Williams (18) Miami Dolphins (U. of Tennessee/Colorado St)   – 2nd team WR

Inactives (1)
WR – Jalen Hurd (14) San Francisco 49ers (U. of Tennessee/Baylor) – Reserve/Injured/out for season/torn ACL)

Knoxville Area Players That Didn’t Play At UT on NFL Rosters (6)
x = Rookie
WR – Tee Higgins (85) Cincinnati Bengals (Oak Ridge HS/Clemson) – x   – Starting WR
P – Chris Jones (6) Dallas Cowboys (Carson-Newman)   – Starting P
WR – Randall Cobb (18) Houston Texans (Alcoa HS/Kentucky)   – Starting Slot WR
RB – Nathan Cottrell (31) Jacksonville Jaguars (West HS/Georgia Tech) – x   – 4th team RB
OL – Nate Gilliam (63) Los Angeles Chargers (Farragut HS/Wake Forest) – x   – 3rd team RG
S – Harrison Smith (22) Minnesota Vikings (Catholic HS/Notre Dame)   – Starting SS

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