Heading into the 2014 NFL season, 32 former Vols dot the rosters of the 32 squads. All three drafted VFLs, Ja'Wuan James (Miami Dolphins), Zach Fulton (Kansas City Chiefs) and Daniel McCullers (Pittsburgh Steelers), made the 53-man roster for their respective teams and will begin their rookie seasons this weekend. Undrafted free agent James Stone signed with the Atlanta Falcons following training camp. Fellow undrafted free agents Antonio Richardson (Minnesota Vikings/Injured Reserve) and Jacques Smith (Atlanta Falcons/Practice Squad) also made their respective team rosters.
Along with rookies, some of the more seasoned VFLs return to the field this autumn. Peyton Manning is at the helm of his 18th season in the league and will return with hopes of once again leading the Broncos to the Super Bowl. Manning returns as a 13-time All-Pro team member, most in the NFL. Also back in action in 2014 are previous Pro Bowlers Eric Berry, Jason Witten, Dustin Colquitt, Arian Foster, Jerod Mayo and Scott Wells.
With the opening weekend of the 2014-15 season here, check out who to look forward to seeing, beginning with the Thursday night game:
Packers vs. Seahawks, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
On the opening day of the NFL regular season, Tony McDaniel and the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks will host Green Bay for some Thursday Night Football. McDaniel is expected to see an increased role on the defensive line as a starting tackle.
Saints vs. Falcons, 1:00 p.m. (FOX)
Linebacker Parys Haralson and fullback Austin Johnson will travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons, which includes new signee James Stone. Stone was an undrafted free agent and will begin his rookie season having made the 53-man roster. Haralson will be a starting OLB and Johnson is listed at the second man in line at FB. Stone who spent all of camp working at center is now expected to back up at left guard. Robert Meachem also re-signed with the Saints. Jacques Smith made the practice squad for Atlanta.
Bengals vs. Ravens, 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Morgan Cox is the lone long snapper for the Ravens and will continue to play his part as he begins his fifth season with Baltimore.
Redskins vs. Texans, 1:00 p.m. (FOX)
Arian Foster is expected to be the starting running back for Houston. He is entering his sixth season with the organization.
Titans vs. Chiefs, 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
After a successful rookie season, Justin Hunter enters his second year with the Titans and will serve as a backup to the second wide receiver position. Sixth round draft pick Zach Fulton will start at right guard for Kansas City. He will play alongside starting strong safety and All-Pro Eric Berry, brother of Elliott and Evan Berry. Dustin Colquitt is the starting punter and holder and is listed as a backup as a kicker. Quarterback Tyler Bray is on the Chiefs roster, but is listed as injured reserve.
Patriots vs. Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
New England is expected to start Jerod Mayo at the linebacker position as they travel to Miami for the season opener. The Dolphins are home to both Dallas Thomas and rookie Ja'Wuan James. Thomas will serve as the backup at right guard while James has earned a starting role at right tackle.
Raiders vs. Jets, 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Oakland is home to two VFLs, Denarius Moore and Mychal Rivera. Moore will be a backup at the wide receiver position. Rivera has also earned a backup role but for the tight end position. Quarterback Matt Simms is currently on the practice squad for the Jets.
Jaguars vs. Eagles, 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Entering his second season with the Jaguars, Jacques McClendon will start at center and will back up the left guard position when needed.
Browns vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Vikings vs. Rams, 1:00 p.m. (FOX)
VFL Scott Wells will start at center for St. Louis. Vikings' All-Pro player Cordarrelle Patterson is lined up to start at the first wide receiver position. Former teammate Antonio Richardson is on the injured reserve list for the Vikings.
49ers vs. Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. (FOX)
Long-time Cowboy tight end Jason Witten will remain a starter at the position for Dallas. Witten will look to improve his career total of 52 touchdowns and will look to beat 10,000 yards as he is just 201 yards shy of.
Panthers vs. Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m. (FOX)
Luke Stocker is set to begin his fourth season with the Tampa Bay franchise and is lined up to be the third backup at the tight end position. He started and played in two games last season.
Colts vs. Broncos, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
In the first Sunday Night Football game of the season, VFL quarterback Peyton Manning will start against another impactful quarterback in the mile high city. Malik Jackson will assist on defense as a backup at the left defensive end position. Britton Colquitt will be the primary punter and holder for the team.
Giants vs. Lions, 7:10 p.m. (ESPN)
In the early game of Monday night's double feature, Robert Ayers of New York will be the lone VFL in action. He will be the backup for the left defensive end position.
Chargers vs. Cardinals, 10:20 p.m. (ESPN)
Now with a larger role on defense, Dan Williams will be the starting nose tackle for the Cardinals as they take on San Diego.