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2022 NFL Draft Results: Alontae Taylor goes 49th overall to the Saints

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

The first Tennessee player is off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft. Cornerback Alontae Taylor went 49th overall to the New Orleans Saints — a bit higher than most projected.

Taylor is a former wide receiver prospect that flipped to the defensive side of the ball upon arrival in Knoxville. The former four-star athlete became a day one starter at cornerback, and never looked back. Taylor took his lumps, but eventually emerged as one of the SEC’s best at the position.

As a senior, Taylor became the top cornerback on the depth chart for Tennessee. He responded with two interceptions and 60 total tackles. He finished his career with four career picks, taking one back for a touchdown against Kentucky last season.

Taylor is physical, has length and has speed to go with it. He ran a 4.36 in the 40 yard dash, making him one of the more intriguing defensive backs in this class. The questions come with his agility and change of direction, but the Saints will bank on his potential here with the 49th pick.

New Orleans has Marcus Lattimore in place, along with Bradley Roby and Adebo Paulson. They also have Taylor’s former teammate Bryce Thompson on the depth chart. The two former Vols will now work in the same secondary in New Orleans, each looking for playing time under new head coach Dennis Allen.