Kamara To New Orleans Saints, Sutton To Pittsburgh Steelers In Round 3 of NFL Draft

via UT Sports Information

Saints Select Kamara At No. 67 

PHILADELPHIA — Former Tennessee running back and VFL Alvin Kamara was selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 67th overall pick during Friday’s third round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art at Eakins Oval.

The Saints traded up in the third round to select Kamara. New Orleans gave a 2018 second-round pick and its seventh-round pick from this year to the San Francisco 49ers for the 67th overall pick.

Kamara is the 11th Vol to be selected by the New Orleans Saints and the first since the franchise picked linebacker Marvin Mitchell with the 220th overall pick (seventh round) in the 2007 NFL Draft. Kamara is the third UT running back to be picked by the Saints, joining Curt Watson (150th pick, sixth round in 1972) and Kelsey Finch (311th pick, 12th round in 1979).

Kamara is the first Vol running back selected in the NFL Draft since the Cleveland Browns took Montario Hardesty with the 59th overall pick (second round) in the 2010 pick. Kamara is the fourth UT running back to be selected in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft since 2000, joining Jamal Lewis (first round, 2000), Travis Henry (second round, 2001) and Hardesty.

Kamara was one of Tennessee’s four team captains in 2016 and again proved to be one of the SEC’s most dynamic playmakers. As a redshirt junior, he ran for 596 yards and nine touchdowns on 103 carries (5.8 average) and caught 40 passes for 392 yards (9.8 average) and four scores. He also returned 18 punts for 184 yards (10.2 average). Kamara led the Vols with 1,188 all-purpose yards (seventh in the SEC) in 2016 and tallied 13 total touchdowns, which tied for third in the SEC. Kamara set a new Tennessee record with 312 all-purpose yards against Texas A&M on Oct. 8, rushing for 127 yards on 18 carries and catching eight passes for 161 yards. He and Jamal Lewis (1997 against Kentucky) are the only two Vols to record 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same game.

According to Pro Football Focus, Kamara forced a missed tackle once for every 2.92 touches, which was the second-best rate among running backs in the 2017 draft class.

New Orleans Saints Running Back Alvin Kamara

(On playing in the Saints offense)

“I definitely know a little bit about this offense, just having versatility like Darren Sproles and Reggie Bush and seeing myself like a guy that plays like that, I’m excited to see how it unfolds.”

(On his growth as a player)

“Just watching all the great backs do it as far back as Clinton Portis and even watching the Darren Sproles and Reggie Bush… I try to pull from everybody. I’m blessed to make plays like those guys, hopefully I can keep it going.”

Tennessee Running Backs Coach Robert Gillespie

(On what kind of player the Saints are getting)
“I think the city of New Orleans is going to be excited about him. He really fits the city. He is a hard-working kid, plays with a lot of energy and passion… he’s going to give everything he has. He is going to be an explosive playmaker and I think he is a great addition to what you guys do on offense.”

(On Kamara’s similarities to former Saints running back Darren Sproles)

“Darren Sproles is kind of the architect of running routes out of the back field. He’s one of the best to do it. Alvin prides himself on understanding what style of offense he would fit in and with a guy like Drew Brees controlling the offense, I think that’s going to make him comfortable, that he has another weapon coming out of the back field.”


New Orleans Saints: 1967-Pres.

  • 1967: Ron Widby – K, 4th Rd, 81st pick
  • 1971: Bobby Scott – QB, 14th Rd, 340th pick
  • 1972: Curt Watson – RB, 6th Rd, 150th pick
  • 1972: Joe Balthrop – G, 16th Rd, 397th pick
  • 1979: Kelsey Finch – RB, 12th Rd, 311th pick
  • 1985: Alvin Toles – LB, 1st Rd, 24th pick
  • 1998: Andy McCullough – WR, 7th Rd, 204th pick
  • 2002: Donté Stallworth – WR, 1st Rd, 13th pick
  • 2007: Robert Meachem – WR, 1st Rd, 27th pick
  • 2007: Marvin Mitchell – LB, 7th Rd, 220th pick
  • 2017: Alvin Kamara – RB, 3rd Rd, 67th pick

Steelers Select Sutton At No. 94

PHILADELPHIA — The Pittsburgh Steelers selected former Tennessee defensive back and VFL Cameron Sutton with the 94th overall pick during Friday’s third round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art at Eakins Oval.

Sutton is the 18th Vol to be selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers and the first since Daniel McCullers went 215th overall (sixth round) in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Sutton is the first Tennessee defensive back to be selected in the NFL Draft since 2010 when the Kansas City Chiefs picked Eric Berry with the fifth overall selection.

Sutton was a shutdown cornerback for the Vols for four-straight years. He was limited to six games this past season due to an injury he suffered against Ohio on Sept. 17 and returned to action against Kentucky on Nov. 12, recording a pair of pass breakups to break Jabari Greer’s UT career record for passes defended. He finished the year with 23 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception, and five passes defended. In 45 games played, Sutton amassed 127 tackles (111 solo), 13.0 tackles for loss, seven interceptions, 37 passes defended, one sack, three forced fumbles and three fumbles recovered. His 37 career passes defended are a Tennessee record. In 2015, Sutton earned Sporting News First Team All-America honors as a punt returner after leading the nation with an 18.7-yard average and returning two punts for touchdowns. His 14.6 career punt-return average (minimum 30 returns) is the best in Tennessee history.

ESPN Analyst Mel Kiper Jr.

“When you look at what he can do right away, he can return punts. In 2015, he averaged 18.7 yards per punt return.”

ESPN Analyst Todd McShay

“He is really fluid and smooth in coverage. I think everyone was reminded how talent he is when he showed up at the Senior Bowl. He performed as well as any corner there that week. Sutton is a good pick here.”


Pittsburgh Pirates: 1933-39 Pittsburgh Steelers: 1940-42, 45-Pres.

  • 1941: Bob Suffridge – G, 6th Rd, 42nd pick
  • 1942: Johnny Butler – B, 7th Rd, 51st pick
  • 1944: Jim Meyers – G, 15th Rd, 151st pick
  • 1945: Art Brandau – C, 10th Rd, 89th pick
  • 1951: Bill Pearman – G, 26th Rd, 309th pick
  • 1951: John Gruble – E, 30th Rd, 356th pick
  • 1952: Herky Payne – B, 9th Rd, 102nd pick
  • 1953: Frank Holohan – T, 10th Rd, 114th pick
  • 1954: Bob Fisher – T, 10th Rd, 115th pick
  • 1957: Frank Kolinsky – T, 28th Rd, 329th pick
  • 1965: Whit Canale – FB, 17th Rd, 227th pick
  • 1970: Frank Yanossy – DT, 16th Rd, 392nd pick
  • 1978: Craig Colquitt – P, 3rd Rd, 76th pick
  • 1987: Joey Clinkscales – WR, 9th Rd, 233nd pick
  • 2000: Tee Martin – QB, 5th Rd, 163rd pick
  • 2010: Chris Scott – T, 5th Rd, 151st pick
  • 2014: Daniel McCullers – DT, 6th Rd, 215th pick
  • 2017: Cameron Sutton – DB, 3rd Rd, 94th pick

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