Clemson has followed up a terrific 2015 football season with a stellar 2016 NFL Draft class. Nine Clemson Tigers were selected over 7 rounds this past weekend, the second most in school history. Going into the draft, there was talk Clemson could even see multiple players taken in the first round. That didn't happen, but the nine players drafted and one undrafted free agent are all going to have a chance to pursue their dream of playing in the NFL.
Shaq Lawson - Buffalo Bills, Round 1 Pick 19
As expected, Shaq was the first player off the board and continued Clemson's streak of having a player drafted in the first round. He now heads to a Buffalo Bills team in need of defensive help and to a coach that knows all about Clemson in Rex Ryan.
Kevin Dodd, Tennessee Titans,Round 2 Pick 33
The lead up to the draft saw a lot of rumors about how Kevin Dodd was rising up draft boards and could sneak into the first round. That didn't happen, but Dodd was the second pick in round 2 and is going to have a lot of opportunities for playing time.
MacKensie Alexander, Minnesota Vikings, Round 2 Pick 54
Once talked about as a first round pick, Alexander became a Minnesota Viking in the middle of the second round. Rumors about Alexander's attitude seem to account for his slide, but don't forget that Mac is going to be on the short side of NFL corners, especially if he wants to match up against the top receivers in the league.
T.J. Green, Indianapolis Colts, Round 2 Pick 57
T.J. Green wins our STS award for, "You guys are morons" We were really against Green turning pro early and felt that he would be a mid-round selection at best and may even go undrafted. After some stellar workout numbers and impressing teams during private workouts, Green ended up going in round 2. Higher than his counterpart Jayron Kearse, much higher.
B.J. Goodson, New York Giants, Round 4 Pick 109
B.J. Goodson going in the fourth round may be the biggest surprise to me. His lack of ability in pass coverage made me think he would be a 6th or 7th round pick at best, but it looks like he showed enough in film and in private workouts to assuage any concerns.
D.J. Reader, Houston Texans, Round 5 Pick 166
Despite taking some time off for personal reasons, D.J. Reader came on strong in 2016 when he got on the field. He eventually earned his starting spot back and put it to good use. The Texans are going to have an opportunity to mold Reader into the NT they want for the future here.
Charone Peake, New York Jets, Round 7 Pick 241
After what seems like a decade at Clemson, Charone Peake is going to have an opportunity to play at the next level. Despite his outstanding combination of speed and size, the knocks against Peake are a lack of aggression and some poor hands. We saw that lack of aggression on a few interceptions where Peake should have done more, and his hands were questionable on occasion. But hey, the Jets are kind of terrible so he's going to have some real opportunities to make the roster.
Jayron Kearse, Minnesota Vikings,Round 7 Pick 244
If you ever wonder what can happen to a football player that doesn't put in effort, look at Jayron Kearse. After the Notre Dame game Kearse looked like he could easily go in the first round this year. The problem is that I think Kearse knew it as well and took the rest of the season off. We like to mock NFL scouts, but they are going to notice when a player is loafing around and they saw it in Kearse. With his physical abilities Kearse should have been an easy mid round pick at worst, but a lack of effort almost knocked him out of the draft. If he can show the Vikings he cares though Minnesota is getting the steal of the draft.
Zac Brooks, Seattle Seahawks, Round 7 Pick 247
I'm interested to see what Brooks does, and if he even lasts long on the Seahawks roster. We know that football doesn't have to be a priority for Brooks, he was planning to go to graduate school for interior design, but I feel like Clemson didn't utilize his abilities quite as much as they should have.
Joe Gore, Washington, Undrafted Free Agent
Gore will get an opportunity to make his NFL dreams come true after signing a free agent deal with Washington this weekend. Normally free agents don't get much of a shot at making the roster, but Washington has enough terrible players that you never know what could happen.