KJ Henry is the latest Tiger to enter his name into the NFL draft. After four years of mostly non-descript play he posted the third highest PFF grade on the team in 2022. He became a leader and one of the most important members of the team. He finished with 51 tackles and 3.5 sacks. NFL Draft Buzz projects him to go in the third round.
A few days earlier, Bryan Bresee made the same decision about his future. Bresee had a season filled with hurdles starting with the tragic passing of his younger sister. He then had to overcome a kidney infection and some injuries of his own, all after coming back from knee and shoulder issues from 2021. He only had 15 tackles, but tallied 3.5 sacks in just 8 games. His Clemson career was largely curtained by injuries. He was a five-star talent out of Maryland that at times looked like Clemson’s most dominant player, but will end his three year career with 51 tackles and 9 sacks.
He finished the season strong seeing some time at defensive end. Despite not putting together a full season at Clemson, he is expected to be taken in the first half of the first round based on the dominant flashes he showed. He has star potential in the NFL, and is the No. 3 defensive line prospect behind only Jalen Carter (Georgia) and his teammate Myles Murphy.
Bryan Bresee has officially declared for the NFL Draft.— ClemsonSportsNetwork (@ClemsonSportNet) January 2, 2023
[via Bresee’s IG] pic.twitter.com/aIr3hSRobx
As we await more NFL draft decisions, Tigers defensive line for next year now looks to be:
DE: Xavier Thomas
DT: Tyler Davis
DT: Ruke Orhorhoro
DE: Justin Mascoll
Mascoll posted the third lowest PFF grade of any Clemson defender with 100+ snaps, but will be a sixth year player that has earned the coaching staff’s trust. With Henry’s departure, he is likely to get his first chance at being a full-time starter and hopefully he can have a late KJ Henry-type breakout season. Getting Thomas and at least one of Tyler Davis or Ruke Orhorhoro back will be critical for the defense to continue to be a strength of the team. Stay tuned for more updates as the next week should tell us a lot about the 2023 Clemson Tigers.