Top DEs, picks 6-10

One thing that really jumped out at me while researching the top defensive ends in modern Tennessee football history (1964-2004) was how dramatically the position has evolved over the years. It may have changed more than any position on the field.

Vol defensive ends in the 1960s, ‘70s and early ‘80s were essentially outside linebackers – quick guys who could protect the flanks against sweeps and option plays. By the 1990s, however, UT went more and more to ends with advanced pass-rushing skills. Perhaps that was due to the arrival of Steve Spurrier's "Fun ‘n Gun" passing attack at Florida.

Regardless, I tried to consider more than just sack statistics in picking my top 10 defensive ends of the past 40 years. That's the only way to be fair to the guys who played the position when the primary job was stopping the run.

Here are picks 6 through 10:

10. TODD KELLY: Stuck behind Chuck Smith, Kelly started just one year (1992) but he made it count. He recorded 11 sacks (fourth-best single-season total in program history) and 21 total tackles for loss (third-best in UT history). His 22.5 career sacks rank sixth in UT annals. A team captain his senior year, Kelly was a first-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, ultimately spending four years in the pros.

9. STEVE WHITE: He was overshadowed by Leonard Little but White distinguished himself while starting at right end in 1994 and '95. Extremely quick off the edge, his 20 sacks rank sixth on UT's career list and his 21 quarterback pressures in 1995 is tied for the top spot on the single-season list. A sixth-round pick in the 1996 draft, he spent seven years in the NFL.

8. JONATHAN BROWN: Starting at right end in '96 and left end in '97, he registered 25 career sacks, good for third place on UT's all-time list. His 13.5 sacks in 1997 is the second-best single-season total in program history. A third-round pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, he spent three years in the NFL and currently plays in the Canadian Football League.

7. RON McCARTNEY: Tennessee's starting left end in 1974 and '75, he ranks sixth on the single-season sacks list with 10 in 1975 and eighth on the career assists list with 121. Tabbed a team captain his senior year, he was voted All-SEC that fall. Selected in Round 2 of the 1976 NFL Draft, he spent a year on the Rams' practice squad, then played three years with the Falcons.

6. CHUCK SMITH: After transferring in from junior college, Smith started at right end in 1990 and '91. A relentless pass rusher, he recorded three sacks in a 1991 game against Louisville. Tabbed in Round 2 of the 1992 NFL Draft, he spent 10 years with the Falcons and Panthers.


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