Latest Stories
The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Clemson stars take on the NFL Draft

Kim Montuoro, Asst. Photo Editor
Christian Wilkins celebrates in his final game as a Clemson Tiger.

After a championship winning 2018 season for the Clemson Tigers, several key contributors are ready to take the next step in the NFL. After historic draft classes in 2016 and 2017, the 2019 NFL draft might be the best yet for the Tigers. After Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Mitch Hyatt and Austin Bryant all passed on NFL opportunities a year ago in pursuit of another championship, the Tigers only lost Dorian O’Daniel, Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud in the 2018 draft. The Tigers will have a lot more rebuilding to do, both in terms of production and leadership after this year’s draft class moves on. Here’s a look at where 13 Clemson players are likely to be picked in the 2019 draft.

Clelin Ferrell DE-Round 1, Pick 8 Detroit Lions

Clelin Ferrell is one of the premier pass rushers in this year’s draft which is loaded with edge rushers. One of the most desired commodities in today’s NFL, the influence of an effective pass rusher is invaluable. After racking up 27 sacks in his three years as a starter at Clemson, Ferrell will certainly be a top target for many teams in the top 15. The Detroit Lions who have a need at defensive end could take Ferrell with the No. 8 pick. The Green Bay Packers at No.12 are also an option if he falls out of the top ten.

Christian Wilkins DT-Round 1, Pick 14 Atlanta Falcons

With Grady Jarrett, a 26 year old Clemson alumnus, hitting free agency this offseason, the Atlanta Falcons could look to replace him with another Clemson stud. At 6’ 4,” 315 pounds, Wilkins is both big and fast. Wilkins is a fundamentally sound player with freakish athleticism. If the Falcons pass on Wilkins, he could end up with the Vikings at No. 18 or the Seahawks at No. 21

Dexter Lawrence DT-Round 1, Pick 18 Minnesota Vikings

The 350-pound monster Lawrence has been an unstoppable force throughout his career at Clemson. Really, the only way Lawrence was stopped at all was a suspension for trace amounts of ostarine, a muscle building substance, found in performance enhancing drug tests ahead of this year’s College Football Playoff. The double team destroying machine could very easily pass his Clemson teammate Wilkins at No. 18 or even earlier. It remains to be seen how his suspension will affect his draft position. Look for the Vikings to take Lawrence at No.18, but don’t be surprised if he’s taken even earlier.

Trayvon Mullen CB-Round 1, Pick 29 Kansas City Chiefs

After a defensive MVP performance in the College Football Championship, cornerback Trayvon Mullen solidified himself as an elite talent in this year’s draft. In a class that is thin at cornerback, Mullen could sneak his way into the first round. With a need at cornerback, the Kansas City Chiefs could shore up their secondary with the talented defensive back. Mullen could even go earlier if the Steelers decide to replace Clemson alumnus Coty Sensabaugh with the younger Mullen at No. 20. If both the Steelers and Chiefs pass on Mullen, he could fall to the Colts or 49ers early in the second round.

Austin Bryant DE-Round 2, Pick 44 Green Bay Packers

If the Packers miss out on Clelin Ferrell in the first round, they can find their pass rusher in Ferrell’s teammate Austin Bryant. While not quite as highly regarded as Ferrell, Bryant is an outstanding player in his own right, compiling 21 sacks and 37 tackles for a loss in his four seasons at Clemson. After bursting onto the national stage with a four sack performance against Auburn in 2017, Bryant has continued to be a consistent dominant force on the edge. Look for Bryant to fall somewhere in the second round.

Mitch Hyatt OT-Round 3

While the Clemson tackle showed first round upside at times in his collegiate career, scouts are worried about his strength. Hyatt had a strong 2018 season after passing up on last year’s draft, but he could still benefit greatly from the NFL combine. If Hyatt can prove that his strength has improved, his draft stock could shoot up. In the meantime, he could fall anywhere between rounds three and five.  

Tre Lamar LB-Round 3

While much of the hype around Clemson’s defense surrounded their line in 2018, Tre Lamar was an unsung hero all season long. Lamar made a name for himself plugging holes and making tackles sideline to sideline. Lamar certainly has the size to play linebacker at 6’4” 256 pounds. With a good combine, Lamar could have first round potential, but most believe he will be taken on day two.
Hunter Renfrow WR-Round 4

Clemson fan-favorite Hunter Renfrow will finally have to trade in his Clemson orange for a new color. While the running joke in the college football world is that Renfrow just completed his 17th year at Clemson, he will not be back for an 18th. While he is best known for his championship winning catch in 2017, Renfrow has dazzled throughout his career snatching seemingly uncatchable passes. While his 5’10” 185 pound frame isn’t very imposing, NFL teams will hope he can make his career in the slot much like fellow Clemson alumnus Adam Humphries. Wes Welker, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman all serve as accurate comparisons for Renfrow, leading many to believe that Renfrow will end up in New England. “When we played at BC, I did think — the Patriots are right down the road,” said Renfrow about ending up in New England.

Kendall Joseph LB-Round 6

While Joseph has regressed slightly since his 109 tackle season in 2016, he has still been an extremely valuable member of Clemson’s defense. While Joseph is undersized at 6’ 0”, he is quick and agile, making him a valuable coverage linebacker. Look for Joseph to be taken at some point on day three.

Mark Fields CB-Round 7

While Fields didn’t get much playing time at Clemson, forced to play behind Trayvon Mullen and AJ Terrell, Fields has shown great upside as a rotational player. Fields has shown excellent coverage skills in his limited role, and he solidified his draft stock with a solid performance in this year’s Senior Bowl. If Fields continues to impress at the combine, his stock could continue to rise.

Albert Huggins DT, Justin Falcinelli OC, Greg Huegel K

After starting in the College Football Playoff in Lawrence’s place, Albert Huggins was a solid replacement. While Huggins is significantly smaller than Lawrence, he has shown that he is a very capable pass rusher from the interior line position. Huggins could potentially be a day three pick with a good combine. Justin Falcinelli was an anchor for Clemson’s offensive line throughout his collegiate career. He earned first team All-ACC honors in 2017 and second team All-ACC honors in 2018. Falcinelli could be picked on day three, but if not, he will likely have a chance to join a team as a free agent. The same goes for kicker Greg Huegel. After a second team All-ACC season in 2016, Huegel was off to a hot start in 2017 before a devastating practice injury caused him to miss the rest of the season. Upon returning in 2018, Huegel was a solid kicker, converting 11 of his 16 attempts.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *