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Clemson Tigers 2018 NFL Draft prospect previews

A look at the 2018 Clemson Tigers draft class.

CFP National Championship Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Clemson is coming back off a National Championship season, but without clutch quarterback Deshaun Watson, jump ball specialist Mike Williams, workmanlike running back Wayne Gallman, and starting tight end Jordan Leggett. Despite the new faces and uncertainty on offense, the Tigers still return a number of highly-touted and draftable players. Here’s a look at Clemson’s potential 2018 NFL Draft class…

KEY

⭐️= potential elite prospect (size/athleticism/production)
↑= potential riser
↓= potential faller/overrated
$ = major positive
⚠️= caution
+ = injury risk
# = off-field

PB = SPARQ power ball toss score (high school)
VJ = Vertical Jump (high school)
40 = 40 (high school)
SS = short shuttle (high school)

Deon Cain WR 6’1” 210 JR

Note: With Williams, Leggett and Artavis Scott gone, Cain should see a significant uptick in targets. He’s been big play guy during his first two seasons, but he was only sixth on the team in receptions last season, and fourth on the team the year before.

Tyrone Crowder G 6’2” 340 rSR ↓

  • DOB: 7/3/94⚠️
  • 4-star recruit in 2013
  • First Team All-ACC in 2016
  • VJ: 25.6”
  • 40: 5.44⚠️
  • SS: 5.25⚠️
  • Career: 28 starts at guard

Note: Crowder will finish with plenty of starting experience, but he will be a 24-year old rookie with a low ceiling. Hard to imagine he’ll be more than a late round pick.

Clelin Ferrell DE 6’5” 265 rSO ↑

  • DOB: 5/17/97
  • 4-star recruit in 2015

Career: 15 games 21 solo TKL 12.5 TFL 6 SCK 2 PBU

2016: 44 TKL (21 solo) 12.5 TFL 6 SCK 9 QBH 2 PBU $

Mitch Hyatt OT 6’5” 295 JR ↑

  • DOB: 2/6/97
  • 4-star recruit in 2015
  • First Team Freshman All-American in 2015
  • First Team All-ACC in 2016
  • PB: 39.5
  • VJ: 29.4”
  • 40: 5.24
  • SS: 4.80
  • Career: 29 starts at left tackle $

Note: Hyatt has been a starter since Day One on a team that’s made back-to-back playoff appearances, and he’s still only 20 years old. If he can improve upon some decent high school athletic testing, and maybe add 15 pounds, he’ll generate first round discussion

Kendall Joseph LB 6’ 230 rJR +

  • DOB: 11/19/95
  • 3-star recruit in 2014
  • Missed time in 2015 with knee and shoulder injuries, and with a concussion⚠️
  • PB: 35.5
  • VJ: 27.8⚠️
  • SS: 4.38

Career: 22 games 65 solo TKL 12.5 TFL 3.5 SCK 2 FF 1 INT

2016: 108 TKL (61 solo) 12.5 TFL 3.5 SCK 5 QBH 2 FF 1 INT

Ray-Ray McCloud III WR 5’10” 180 JR

  • DOB: 10/15/96
  • 5-star recruit in 2015
  • PB: 30.0
  • SS: 4.27

Career: 25 games 78 REC 723 YDS 9.3 AVG 3 TD receiving, 76 YDS 6.3 AVG rushing, 31.4 KR AVG, 7.3 PR AVG

2016: 49 REC 472 YDS 9.6 AVG 2 TD receiving, 28 YDS 5.6 AVG rushing, 8.4 PR AVG

Note: My lasting impression of McCloud is of him casually dropping the ball short of the goal line against Troy, on what should have been a punt return touchdown

Dorian O’Daniel LB 6’1” 215⚠️ rSR

  • DOB: 9/4/94⚠️
  • 4-star recruit in 2013
  • VJ: 35.8”
  • 40: 4.55
  • SS: 4.19

Career: 42 games 78 solo TKL 16.5 TFL 3.5 SCK 2 FF 1 INT 2 PBU

2016: 54 TKL (37 solo) 10 TFL 2.5 SCK 3 QBH 1 FF 1 INT 1 PBU

Hunter Renfrow WR 5’11” 180 rJR

  • DOB: 12/21/95
  • 2-star recruit in 2014
  • Originally walked on at Clemson, but earned a scholarship in 2015
  • Missed four games last season with a broken bone in his hand⚠️

Career: 26 games 77 REC 987 YDS 12.8 AVG 11 TD

2016: 44 REC 495 YDS 11.3 AVG 6 TD

Note: Former walk-on Renfrow has more catches in two years than his five-star teammate Cain, and as an added bonus, Renfrow is sure to generate Wes Welker comparisons from the draft media

Van Smith S 5’11” 195 JR

  • DOB: 8/14/96
  • 3-star recruit in 2015

Career: 29 games 77 solo TKL 6.5 TFL 2 FF 3 INT 2 PBU

2016: 95 TKL (64 solo) 5.5 TFL 2 FF 2 INT 2 PBU

Christian Wilkins DT 6’4” 310 JR ↑

  • DOB: 12/20/95
  • 5-star recruit in 2015
  • First Team All-American in 2016

Career: 30 games 42 solo TKL 17.5 TFL 5.5 SCK 1 FF 10 PBU 1 TD 1 kick BLK

2016: 48 TKL (24 solo) 13 TFL 3.5 SCK 5 QBH 10 PBU 1 TD 1 kick BLK $

Note: Wilkins is the most well-regarded draft-eligible player on the Clemson roster, and he’s coming off an incredibly productive season for an interior lineman. I love a player who can wreak havoc even when he can’t get to the quarterback, and I’ll take those 10 batted passes that Wilkins registered over any subjective “pressure” statistic