Top OTs, picks 1-5

Tennessee has produced some great offensive tackles over the years – many of whom have gone on to enjoy fruitful careers in the pro ranks. Thus, trimming the list of candidates to a top 10 was difficult. Whittling the top 10 to a top five was even more so. Trying to rank the top five in order was a real headache.

Trooper that I am, though, I saw the project through to its completion.

What follows is my ranking of the top five offensive tackles to represent the Vols between 1964 and 2004:

5. CHARLES McRAE: After starting at nose guard as a freshman in 1987, McRae moved to offense and blossomed into a star. After a year of seasoning, the towering Clinton native started at left tackle in '89 and '90. He was so well seasoned by this time that he was a first-round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft, ultimately sticking for six years in the pro ranks.

4. ANTONE DAVIS: After starting at guard in 1988, he started at right tackle in both 1989 and 1990, earning All-America honors as a senior in '90. Davis was an All-SEC pick in '89 and '90, winning the Jacobs Award as the league's premier blocker in the latter. A first-round NFL Draft pick, he spent seven years in the pros.

3. CHAD CLIFTON: A four-year starter, this Martin product broke into the lineup at right tackle early in 1996, then started at left tackle the next three years. Voted a team captain for 1999, he never earned so much as All-SEC recognition in college. Still, he was a second-round NFL Draft pick in 2000 who has anchored the left side of the Green Bay Packers' blocking front for the past six years.

2. BRUCE WILKERSON: Remarkably agile for his size, this native of Philadelphia, Tenn., started at right guard in 1984, then moved to right tackle and started the next two seasons. He earned All-SEC recognition both years he played tackle. After serving as a captain his senior year, he was a second-round pick in the 1987 NFL Draft. Wilkerson then distinguished himself with 12 superior seasons in the pros.

1. TIM IRWIN: A starter at right tackle in 1979 and '80, he was All-SEC as a senior. Tabbed in the third round of the ‘81 NFL Draft, the native Knoxvillian spent 12 quality seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, then played a year each with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins.

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