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Clemson looks to continue impressive NFL Draft history: Eight former Tigers likely to be selected during NFL Draft

Isabelle Davis, Asst. Photo Editor

When the NFL Draft takes place in Chicago at the end of the month, expect the Clemson Tigers to play a prominent role in rounding out this year’s draft class. Eight Tigers are certain to hear their names called, and a few others might hear theirs as well.

The 2015 Tigers were loaded with talent in a way that is rarely seen, and the high number of draft prospects is proof. Not to mention several of the most important players still have at least one more collegiate season to go.

The eight surefire draftees are defensive ends Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson, defensive tackle D.J. Reader, cornerback Mackensie Alexander, safeties T.J. Green and Jayron Kearse, linebacker B.J. Goodson and wide receiver Charone Peake. Three of the aforementioned prospects are in high demand, with Alexander, Dodd and Lawson all expected for selection in the first round. Green and Kearse are considered mid-round prospects, and Goodson, Peake and Reader are projected to go in the later rounds.

In the seven-round draft, eight selections from one school is always impressive, and when five of them are early entrants, that speaks volumes about the excellent job that Head Coach Dabo Swinney and his staff have done in recent years of preparing their players for the next level.

Perhaps the most impressive note of all concerning Clemson’s top draft prospects is that six of them were first-year starters this past season — an uncanny number considering how phenomenal Clemson was in all facets this past fall.

Speaking on the impressive players Clemson frequently produces while at the Tigers’ Pro Day last month, Buffalo Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan told the media, “Clemson is the spot to be, and I think everybody knows it. It’s Coach

Dabo Swinney.” 

Coming from an experienced NFL head coach, that is high praise indeed. Of course, Ryan’s son, Seth, is the holder for the Tigers, but the coach clearly recognizes an excellent football program when he sees one.

The entire build-up to the draft, from the NFL Combine to Pro Day, has shed positive light on Clemson’s football program and has assuredly helped in the recruiting department as a result. As for the NFL Draft, eight might not be enough, as other prospects like offensive linemen Joe Gore and Eric Mac Lain and running back Zac Brooks could hear their names called in Chicago, too.

That does not even factor in the undrafted free agent signings that will occur following the draft, which should serve to increase the number of Tigers in the NFL. All in all, Tiger fans should be excited to know that such a plethora of talent is coming to the NFL representing Clemson football. Several of Swinney’s former players are currently excelling in the NFL, and, in the coming years, many more Tigers are sure to continue that trend.

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