Clemson dominates list of Palmetto State players looking to be picked in NFL Draft

April 25, 2017

It takes plenty of talent across the board for teams to win national championships. If next week’s NFL Draft is any indication, Clemson was loaded this past season.

The Tigers could have as many as 10 players selected in the draft, which will take place April 27-29. The draft will be held in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the steps that Sylvester Stallone made famous in the first ‘Rocky’ movie. It will mark the first time in NFL history the entire draft is held outdoors.

Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver Mike Williams are expected to hear their names called early Thursday night. Some mock drafts have Watson going in the top 10, and Williams being picked anywhere from No. 5 (Tennessee Titans) to the 16th pick (Baltimore Ravens).

Outside of Clemson’s strong class, there are only a few players from in-state colleges expected to be among the 253 players selected. Among them is Coastal Carolina running back and former Summerville High School star De’Angelo Henderson.

Here’s a breakdown of players from South Carolina colleges that will be or could be selected in the draft:

Deshaun Watson

School: Clemson

Position: Quarterback

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 220

The Skinny: A two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, Watson led the Tigers to a national title in 2016. He passed for more than 8,600 yards and 76 TDs in his final two season. Some mock drafts have Watson going as high as the No. 6 overall pick to the New York Jets.

NFL Comparison: Marcus Mariota

Projection: 1st round.

Mike Williams

School: Clemson

Position: Wide receiver

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 220

The Skinny: Missed the entire 2015 season with a broken neck, but came back in 2016 with a vengeance. Caught 84 passes for 1,171 yards and 10 TDs and helped lead the Tigers to the national title. Some draft analysts have Williams projected to go higher than Deshaun Watson.

NFL Comparison: Plaxico Burress

Projection: 1st round

Cordrea Tankersley

School: Clemson.

Position: Cornerback

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 200

The Skinny: Tankersley started just two seasons at Clemson, but finished with nine interceptions and 20 pass break-ups over his final two years. Has excellent size and speed, ran a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

NFL Comparison: Dre Kirkpatrick

Projection: 3rd or 4th round

Carlos Watkins

School: Clemson

Position: Defensive tackle

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 300

The Skinny: Watkins had a very productive senior season with 13.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. Had excellent quickness and can shed blockers to get to the ball carrier. Needs to get in shape and be more consistent in the NFL.

NFL Comparison: Sylvester Williams

Projection: 3rd or 4th round

Jordan Leggett

School: Clemson

Position: Tight End

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 260

The Skinny: In his last two seasons, caught 86 passes for more than 1,200 yards and 15 TDs. Has the size and speed to be a matchup nightmare in the NFL. Leggett has had issues with his intensity level, taking some plays off during games.

NFL Comparison: Kellen Davis

Projection: 4th round

Wayne Gallman

School: Clemson

Position: Running Back

Ht: 6-0 Wt: 215

The Skinny: A tough, hard runner, especially between the tackles. Runs every carry likes it’s his last. Doesn’t have high-end speed and lacks vision when running in traffic.

NFL Comparison: Khiry Robinson

Projection: 4th or 5th round

Artavis Scott

School: Clemson

Position: Wide receiver

Ht: 5-10 Wt: 190

The Skinny: In three seasons, Scott caught 240 passes for 2,458 yards and 19 TDs. Had a big season as a sophomore with 900 receiving yards, but production dipped in 2016 with return of Mike Williams. Scott doesn’t have high-end speed of an outside receiver or the quickness for a slot receiver.

NFL Comparison: Tyreek Hill.

Projection: 5th or 6th round

Jadar Johnson

School: Clemson

Position: Safety

Ht: 6-0 Wt: 205

The Skinny: Johnson didn’t become a full-time starter until his senior season at Clemson, but made the most of it with 60 tackles, seven pass break-ups and five interceptions. Johnson has superior ball skills, but needs to work on his run support.

NFL Comparison: Tashaun Gipson

Projection: 5th or 6th round

Ben Boulware

School: Clemson

Position: Linebacker

Ht: 6-0 Wt: 240

The Skinny: Besides Deshaun Watson, Boulware was the Tigers’ most important player and its most outspoken. In his final two seasons, Boulware had nearly 200 tackles and 11 tackles for loss. A tough, physical player, but lacks the overall speed and size to be an impact player in the NFL.

NFL Comparison: Scooby Wright.

Projection: 7th round or free agent

Jay Guillermo

School: Clemson

Position: Center

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 300

The Skinny: Guillermo was the “quarterback” of the Tigers’ offensive line, making all the pre-snap calls at the line of scrimmage. Will most likely project as a guard in the NFL.

NFL Comparison: Austin Blythe.

Projection: 7th round or free agent

De’Angelo Henderson

School: Coastal Carolina

Position: Running back

Ht: 5-7 Wt: 210

The Skinny: The former Summerville High School star set the school rushing mark in just about every major category at Coastal. Henderson scored a touchdown in 35 straight games, which set an FCS record. Ran a 4.48 at the NFL Combine.

NFL Comparison: Brandon Oliver

Projection: 6th to 7th round

Darius English

School: South Carolina

Position: Defensive end

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 245

The Skinny: English saw his production go up in 2016, but will need to get stronger and add some weight to have a chance in the NFL. His length and athleticism will intrigue some teams.

NFL Comparison: Alex McCalister.

Projection: 7th round or free agent

Erik Austell

School: Charleston Southern

Position: Offensive lineman

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 300

The Skinny: A former defensive lineman in high school and with the Buccaneers, Austell is athletic with excellent quickness. Was an FCS All-American at offensive tackle, but will most likely be moved to guard in the NFL.

NFL Comparison: Joey Hunt.

Projection: 7th round or free agent

Alex Scearce

School: Coastal Carolina

Position: Linebacker

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 220

The Skinny: Moved from safety to linebacker during his career at Coastal and showed a good ability to cover running backs coming out of the backfield. Had five interceptions and eight sacks.

NFL Comparison: Joe Walker.

Projection: 7th round or free agent

Javarius Leamon

School: South Carolina State

Position: Offensive lineman

Ht: 6-7 Wt: 330

The Skinny: Originally signed at Clemson coming out Woodruff High School, but didn’t qualify academically and played at S.C. State. Leamon has the physical tools to play in the NFL, but lacks quickness.

NFL Comparison: Denzelle Good.

Projection: 7th round or free agent