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Alumni Association: The Final Countdown

Now that the NFL preseason is over, the final roster cuts have been made.  Since the final preseason game is a bit of a joke for most teams, I'll focus instead on the Vols who were drafted.

JEROD MAYO, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Obviously, Mayo made the roster cuts.  Not only was he the #10 overall pick of the draft, he fills what is perhaps the greatest need for the Patriots going forward: the need to replace the aging linebacker corps in the near future.  It's possible that Mayo could actually start when the season begins, but I think it'd be wiser to temper our enthusiasm for him to merely contributing in many big ways to the team that so many Vols fans love to hate.  Oh, the angst this will create.

BRAD COTTAM, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Cottam also survived the roster cuts.  He is now officially the heir apparent to Tony Gonzalez and the Chiefs' next hope for a HoF tight end.  With his size and speed, he has a real shot to be a great TE in Kansas City and will have the advantage of Gonzalez's tutelage, which can only be a positive.

ERIK AINGE, NEW YORK JETS

If you like mystery subplots, this will be the one to follow.  The Jets kept four quarterbacks on their roster; most teams keep only two or three.  One of those quarterbacks is F-vr-, who will obviously be the starter; the Jets have no choice but to prove that the trade was worth the effort.  Clemens and Ratliff were on the team last year; one of the two will be the backup to F-vr-.  Ainge will most likely be on scout team duty for the first year.  But,the most likely solution to the overstock on QBs is that one of them is due for an imminent trade that's in the works.  The question is: which of the three?  Most likely, Clemens or Ratliff is the trade bait (and of those two, I'd guess Clemens).  Bet at this time, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Jets try to trade Ainge.  It'd surprise me more to see somebody else want to pick him up right now, but the Jets no longer raise an eyebrow on me.