The 2017 NFL Draft saw some of Clemson’s best head to the professional ranks. Highlighted by Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams, Clemson sent 6 players to the NFL via the draft and another 4 were signed as undrafted free agents shortly after a certain Mr. Chad Kelly became the last pick of the draft. Commonly known as Mr. Irrelevant if you prefer.
Mike Williams - 1st Round, 7th Overall to Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles is an interesting spot for Williams. The Chargers certainly have some talent at WR, but it tends to be injured or ineffective. This gives Williams a chance to contribute immediately and become one of Phillip Rivers’ top receivers. Oh an as a bonus Williams is going to a team with a functioning QB. Something former receivers like Sammy Watkins haven’t been lucky enough to get.
Deshaun Watson - 1st Round, 12th Overall to Houston Texans
Though he was the 3rd QB off the board, LOL BEARS, Watson goes to what may have been the best situation in the entire NFL for him. In Houston Watson is going to have an opportunity to win the starting job in fall camp, but he doesn’t have the immediate pressure to be the guy. If he can win the job great, if not he gets a year or two to develop and learn what is a fairly complex offense.
Remember that this Texans team almost took down New England in the playoffs and with a nasty defense Watson just needs to be competent for the team to have success. Oh and he gets to throw the ball to Nuk Hopkins. SO EXCITED!
Cordrea Tankersley - 3rd Round, 97th Overall to Miami Dolphins
Tank going here is a bit of a steal for the Dolphins. Several draft guys had Cordrea going as high as the second round so the Dolphins are pretty excited. There is a real possibility he starts from day 1 for the Dolphins. Talking to several fans they seem pretty excited about Tank though they have concerns about the reports that he isn’t big on tackling in run support.
Wayne Gallman - 4th Round, 140th Overall to New York Giants
The Wayne Train is going to roll into New York with the Giants. Gallman joins former Clemson LB B.J. Goodson in New York where Gallman will be a component of the Giant’s rushing attack. He’s not going to be asked to carry the load or even be the primary back which should allow Gallman to succeed.
Carlos Watkins - 4th Round, 142nd Overall to Houston Texans
The Texans are just fantastic at getting steals in the mid rounds. Last year they took D.J. Reader later in the draft, this year they went and got Carlos Watkins. He won’t be expected to be a starter day 1, but a lot of Texans’ fans as well as draft experts think the Texans got an absolute steal here. He’s going to have a chance to succeed in Houston and could really improve that defense by providing some quality depth.
Jordan Leggett - 5th Round, 150th Overall to New York Jets
To the surprise of no one, Jets fans have panned the move. But I’m not sure the last time Jets fans were happy with the draft so that isn’t much of a worry. What is a worry is the work ethic concerns from Leggett. No one is panning the pick for his pass catching abilities, but rather for his blocking and work ethic. Leggett is either going to have to change quickly or debunk those rumors in offseason workouts this summer.
Ben Boulware - UDFA, signed with Carolina Panthers
Boulware is staying local as he tries to start his NFL career. A year after a Super Bowl appearance the Panthers didn’t exactly do much well. If Boulware can seize this opportunity he can certainly make the team, but the Panthers do have some talent at LB already. We’ve talked about Boulware’s strengths and weaknesses in detail, now we get a chance to see how much it matters.
Jadar Johnson - UDFA, signed with New York Giants
I’m really interested to see how Johnson does in New York. The Giants actually had a decent defense in 2016, the offense was just bad. Because of that Johnson may not have a great shot at making the roster, but given how Johnson slipping out of the draft the Giants may really think he is worth keeping around.
Nick Schuessler - UDFA, signed with Pittsburgh Steelers
A little surprising that Schuessler is getting an NFL shot, but the Steelers are hurting for QB help and this move pretty much costs them nothing. For Schuessler it is an excellent opportunity to show what he can really do outside of mop up duty. It would be suprising to see Schuessler last until fall camp, but stranger things have happened in the NFL.
Artavis Scott - UDFA, Signed with Los Angeles Chargers
With Scott you know what you are going to get. He’s a smaller receiver that does most of his damage after the catch. Maybe he’ll be able to play the slot, but he’s likely to be more of a utility guy in the return game and on offense. This is likely why he slipped out of the draft, but by joining Mike Williams in Los Angeles he has an opportunity
Jay Guillermo - Currently a free agent, Jay Guillermo has tryouts with the Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills in the coming weeks. Hopefully with one of these tryouts Guillermo is able to earn a contract so he can get a chance to make the 53-man roster in training camp this summer.