The Draft weekend is special for many collegiate stars as they look forward to embarking on a new journey in professional football. The NFL draft has become a grand spectacle filled with emotional phone calls and celebrations. The Clemson Tigers have been blessed with producing many NFL draft picks in recent years. This year’s class is another one boasting seven picks including two first-rounders and one in each of the next two rounds, finishing off the first two days. Clemson’s draft class finished with three more picks on day three.
Clemson Tigers NFL Draft Recap
The First Rounders
Defensive stars Isaiah Simmons and A.J. Terrell found homes fairly early on Thursday evening. For those two it was not if, but when they would be taken. Simmons finds a home with the Arizona Cardinals with the 8th overall pick. Simmons has now become the 12th Clemson Tiger to be picked within the top ten of the draft. He is also the first linebacker from Clemson to be selected in the first round since Stephone Anthony in 2015. The Cardinals will use Simmons primarily as a linebacker, rather than the multiple positions Clemson utilized him at. Simmons will join another former Tiger, DeAndre Hopkins, as a new member of the Cardinals.
The Falcons pulled Terrell off the board with the 16th overall pick. Terrell is a hometown pickup as he is from Fulton County, Georgia. With the pick, the Falcons hope to immediately replace the production of Desmond Trufant. Terrell brings a lot of athletic ability to fill that role. The cornerback will join another former tiger, Grady Jarrett, on the Falcons.
A First Pick
The Cincinnati Bengals took Tee Higgins with the first pick of the second round. After picking the biggest name, Joe Burrow, the Bengals decided to give him a receiving weapon in Higgins. Now Higgins has added his name to the list of prominent receiver picks coming out of Clemson, becoming the ninth Clemson wide receiver to be drafted since 2013. Clemson now also has five consecutive draft classes with a wide receiver. Higgins can add to his accolades by being a dynamic playmaker for the Bengals, just like he did at Clemson.
The Oakland Raiders selected three Clemson Tigers during the 2019 NFL draft and added two more this year. With their selections, Tanner Muse was the 100th overall and John Simpson with the 109th overall. Muse is another versatile defender that is looking to translate his collegiate success to the NFL. The Raiders are going to utilize Muse as an outside linebacker. This makes a great fit as the raiders utilize a 3-5-3 system. The 3-5-3 relies heavily on athletic outside linebackers that can cover receivers in space as well as rush off the edge. Look for Muse to be on the field early and often for the Raiders.
Simpson became the 5th Clemson Tiger to be drafted to the Oakland Raiders. Simpson is the first offensive lineman to be picked from Clemson in the draft since 2014. This pick is a depth-adding pick. The Raiders are already returning their starting offensive guards, but Simpson could develop into a starting spot or jump around to other spots on the line. Look for Simpson to join his other fellow teammates as a starter within a couple of years.
Late Round Dandies
Day three added two more picks to the Clemson draft class. The Philadelphia Eagles selected K’Von Wallace with the 127th overall pick. Wallace joins another former Tiger and Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins in being picked by the Eagles. Wallace is a physical safety looking to fit in anywhere on the field. Look for him to be all over the field, including corner and nickelback.
Tremayne Anchrum will look a little different in his Rams uniform. The 250th overall pick will suit up as a guard. He lined up at the right tackle position during his time at Clemson. Anchrum has a lot of talent and ability, but don’t expect an immediate starting spot. Currently, the Rams see Anchrum as a depth-adding pick, rather than an immediate-starting spot. Anchrum will most likely find his place as a backup, filling in at multiple spots on the line.
Finishing Strong and Looking Forward
The draft is a special time for many former college football stars as they hear their names called and realize their dream has come true. At the conclusion of the three-day event, the Clemson Tigers had a strong showing as seven former Tigers were picked to play in the NFL in 2020. This year’s draft is one in a line of successful drafts in the Swinney era. Now the attention is onto next year’s draft that could include current stars like Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and Justyn Ross.