The Tennessee Volunteers certainly know a thing or two about putting players in the NFL. As the 2022 NFL Draft approaches, the scouting reports from Tennessee include a talented group of athletes from both sides of the ball. Alontae Taylor is a name to know at cornerback, while Cade Mays is dominant on the interior of the offensive line.
Tennessee 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
In addition to Mays and Taylor, former USC RB/WR Velus Jones Jr. turned heads at the Senior Bowl. Here are their full scouting reports ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Alontae Taylor, CB
Positives: Nice-sized cornerback with a terrific head for the position. Stays with coverage assignments, is effective when facing the action, and displays a closing burst. Physical, jams receivers at the line of scrimmage, and battles them throughout the route. Works well with safeties and effectively communicates with teammates in the secondary. Displays good footwork in reverse and a solid burst to the ball out of his plant. Works hard to make plays against the run.
Negatives: Not a stout tackler. Bites on receivers’ moves, which results in him being a half-step behind opponents in transition.
Analysis: Taylor is a tough, athletic corner who excels facing the action. He offers possibilities as a dime back and plays with a special-teams mentality.
Want more information on Taylor? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Alontae Taylor, Tennessee CB | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Cade Mays, G
Positives: Large, strong right tackle who projects to guard. Explosive at the point, knocks defenders off the line as a run blocker, and gets after assignments. Keeps his feet moving, gets his hands into defenders, and controls them at the point. Quickly sets up in pass protection, sets with a wide base, and anchors. Blocks with a nasty attitude.
Negatives: Struggles to adjust or slide in space. Lacks lateral blocking range. Ducks his head and misses blocks.
Analysis: Mays is a big, tough blocker who could back up in a power gap system on Sundays.
Want more information on Mays? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Cade Mays, Tennessee G | NFL Draft Scouting Report
JaVonta Payton, WR
Positives: Underrated receiver with solid size and speed. Plays to his 40 time, tracks the pass in the air, and nicely adjusts to errant throws. Extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame and looks passes into his hands. Effectively makes the reception on crossing patterns. Quickly turns upfield and gives effort after the catch.
Negatives: Has a limited route tree. Marginally productive throughout his college career. Never caught more than 20 passes in any single season.
Analysis: Payton is overlooked in many areas of the scouting community due to limited production. Still, he possesses the size, speed, and pass-catching ability to play on Sundays. He’s a big-play threat who needs to round out his game. However, at the very least, he should be given practice-squad consideration this fall.
Matthew Butler, DT
Positives: Quick, explosive lineman who plays with a relentless style. Fires off the snap, plays with excellent pad level, and gets a lot of momentum going up the field. Stays on his feet, plays off blocks, and bullies his way behind the line of scrimmage to impact the game. Uses his hands exceptionally well, has nice length, and stays on his feet. Very quick, easily changes direction, and works hard.
Negatives: Not a big-bodied tackle and gets knocked around in the middle of the line. Handled by a single blocker.
Analysis: Butler is a solid interior line prospect who has outstanding length, decent athleticism, and a large upside. He must fill out his frame, but he’s a scheme-versatile defender who could eventually break into the starting lineup.
Want more information on Butler? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Matthew Butler, Tennessee DT | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Theo Jackson, CB
Positives: Nice sized corner who plays physical football. Keeps the action in front of him, effectively communicates with teammates in the secondary and immediately reads or diagnoses plays. Stays with assignments, fires upfield defending screen passes and very aggressive. Quickly picks up receivers over the middle of the field, displays a nice move to the throw and works to get a hand in breaking away passes.
Negatives: A bit slow in transition and loses a halfstep turning to run with opponents. Possesses an average closing burst.
Analysis: Jackson comes off the breakout season at Tennessee and is a tough run defender who also displays solid ball skills. He offers possibilities in dime packages at the next level and will add value on special-teams.
Velus Jones Jr., WR
Positives: Terrific vertical receiver who has done exceptionally well in the lead-up to the draft. Displays outstanding awareness, battles defensive backs, and works to come away with the difficult catch. Tracks the pass in the air, adjusts to errant throws, and extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame. Works routes and keeps the play in bounds after the catch. Effective return specialist.
Negatives: Has short arms. Will be 25 years old this season. Must improve his footwork running routes.
Analysis: Jones is a physically talented wideout who showed continual improvement in his game and had a breakout senior season. He’s a big-play threat who can see double duty returning kicks or punts. Jones has enough ability to eventually line up as a No. 2 receiver on Sundays.
Want more information on Jones Jr.? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Velus Jones Jr., Tennessee WR | NFL Draft Scouting Report
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