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Ten New Tigers in the NFL

The Clemson Tigers garnered some much-deserved attention with their fantastic showing at last week’s NFL Draft. With nine Tigers selected, the most since 1983, Clemson had the second most draftees. Only the Ohio State Buckeyes had more, with 12 draftees.
In the first round, defensive end Shaq Lawson was selected by the Buffalo Bills. The second round saw defensive end Kevin Dodd chosen by the Tennessee Titans, cornerback Mackensie Alexander by the Minnesota Vikings and free safety T.J. Green by the Indianapolis Colts. Outside linebacker B.J. Goodson was drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round, and the Houston Texans took defensive tackle D.J. Reader in the fifth round. Lastly, the seventh round featured three Tiger draftees: wide receiver Charone Peake went to the New York Jets, strong safety Jayron Kearse to the Minnesota Vikings and running back Zac Brooks going to the Seattle Seahawks. Also, undrafted offensive tackle Joe Gore was signed by the Washington Redskins following the draft’s conclusion.
With 10 new Tigers taking their talents to the NFL, the state of affairs for Clemson’s football program is clearly in top form. Speaking on what it means to have continued success regarding players being drafted to play at the next level, Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney told the media, “You got to get guys that want it and want to be successful in life. We got a great culture at Clemson, and you protect that by who you recruit.”
It appears that Coach Swinney is correct. Recruiting the right guys to mesh with the program and develop well enough to become NFL-caliber players is the primary reason why the Tigers have had such success on the field in recent years and also why that has success has translated to the NFL.
As for the players selected, Lawson, Dodd, Alexander and Green all have solid chances of starting as rookies. The other five should contribute to their respective teams right away. Though this year’s draft featured several key defensive players from Clemson, next year’s draft will be more of an offensive affair for the Tigers.
With the number of Tigers currently on NFL rosters just under 50, fans should expect that number to rise in years to come. Coach Swinney and his staff have done an excellent job of preparing their players for the next level at every position, and Clemson has become a powerhouse in terms of talent produced as a result. With several former Tigers currently making waves in the NFL, every player who wears the orange and purple regalia has high expectations to live up to. But if Coach Swinney’s track record is any indication, he and his staff will enable them to do just that.


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