Thirteen Vols NFL Playoff Bound

As the 2022 NFL Postseason begins, 13 former Tennessee Volunteers in the NFL are gearing up for a playoff push. Of these 13, seven will take the field on active rosters for Super Wild Card Weekend, hoping to push their side to the Divisional round.

The first former Vol to take the field in the playoffs is Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Kendal Vickers (2017). The Raiders play the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, Jan. 15, at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Vickers started the year on the practice squad, but was elevated in the middle of the season and has been on LV’s active roster seven of the last nine weeks.

Kansas City OL Trey Smith / Credit: UT Athletics

Jakob Johnson (2017) and the New England Patriots head to Buffalo to take on the Bills at 8:15 p.m. ET on Saturday. While Johnson made his mark in run blocking as the New England fullback, he caught four passes for a career-best 43 yards on the year, including a 29-yard reception against the Jets in week seven. Johnson logged 308 snaps for the Patriots this season, the third-most of any fullback in the league.

On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles, with a pair of Vols, take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1 p.m. ET on Fox. Derek Barnett (2016) played in 16 games this season for the Eagles, amassing 43 tackles and two sacks at the defensive tackle position. His teammate, Jason Croom (2016) has spent the season on the Injured Reserve after a knee injury in the preseason.

The next game that day pits the San Francisco 49ers against the Dallas Cowboys at 4:30 p.m. on CBS. Both Jauan Jennings (2019) and Emmanuel Moseley (2017) were crucial to the 49ers making a playoff berth, with huge performances in week 18 against the Rams. Jennings, in his first season, recorded 24 catches for 282 yards and five touchdowns. His week 18 performance may be a sign of things to come as he had six receptions for 94 yards with a pair of touchdowns in the win. Moseley missed some time late in the year with an injury but played in 11 games over the course of the season, wrapping up 40 tackles and defending a career-high 11 passes. He also had an interception and a fumble recovery. Tyler Bray (2012) also dawns the Gold and Scarlet as the sixth-year veteran was signed to the practice squad on Dec. 29, 2021.

Sunday Night Football is the only contest with former Vols on different teams as Trey Smith’s Kansas City Chiefs take on Cameron Sutton and Joshua Dobbs’ Pittsburgh Steelers at 8:15 p.m. on NBC. Smith (2020) has played the fourth-most snaps of any player in the league at 1,194. The rookie right guard has not allowed a sack for 10 consecutive weeks and is getting his first taste of NFL postseason football. On the other sideline, Sutton (2016) has had a career year after signing a contract extension with the Steelers. The fifth-year cornerback had a career-high 51 tackles this season and recorded multiple interceptions for the first time. He also forced a fumble and broke-up six passes and his late interception turned the tide in week 18, allowing Pittsburgh to get into the playoffs. Dobbs (2016) has been on the Steelers’ injured reserve all season after sustaining an injury in the preseason.

The final game of Super Wild Card Weekend sees the Arizona Cardinals taking on the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, Jan. 17, at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN/ABC. Tight end Alex Ellis (2015) mans the Cardinals’ practice squad, and was signed by Arizona on Nov. 9, 2021.

A full list of matchups featuring active Tennessee Volunteers can be found below.

Raiders             at          Bengals
Kendal Vickers                          
Jan. 15 // 4:30 p.m. ET // NBC

Patriots             at          Bills
Jakob Johnson                  
Jan. 15 // 8:15 p.m. ET // CBS

Eagles              at          Buccaneers
Derek Barnett   
Jan. 16 // 1 p.m. ET // FOX

49ers                at          Cowboys
Jauan Jennings
Emmanuel Moseley
Jan. 16 // 4:30 p.m. ET // CBS

Steelers            at          Chiefs
Cameron Sutton            Trey Smith
Jan. 16 // 8:15 p.m. ET // NBC

-UT Athletics

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