CLEMSON, S.C. — Let’s be honest. This past weekend’s NFL Draft was not a good draft for the Clemson Football Program.
Only two former Tigers were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, the fewest by the program since 2008 and the fewest under Dabo Swinney in his 14 years as head coach. Cornerback Andrew Booth was selected in the second round (42 overall) by the Minnesota Vikings, while linebacker Baylon Spector (231 overall) was drafted in the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills.
But do not be fooled by those who might be telling you this is a sign the Clemson program is slipping. The number of Tigers who could possibly be drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft says otherwise.
Potentially, 11 Tigers could be drafted next year and that is not counting all the third-year players who will be drafted eligible. The three underclassmen All Clemson has on its list of potential draftees are mentioned in at least five of the six early mock drafts we reviewed, while one is listed on all six.
Defensive tackle Bryan Bresee, despite coming off an ACL surgery, is mentioned in all six mock drafts. He is ranked as high as No. 7 by the Sporting News and is also considered a top 10 pick by the Athletic (No. 9) and SI.com (8).
Bresee is also ranked No. 12 by CBS Sports, No. 14 by Pro Football Focus (PFF) and No. 11 ESPN.
Defensive end Myles Murphy is ranked in five of the six mock drafts, including two top 10s. He is ranked No. 8 by the Sporting News and No. 10 by SI.
He is also No. 30 by the Athletic, No. 13 by CBS Sports and No. 22 by PPF.
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Linebacker Trenton Simpson is considered a first-round pick by three of the outlets. He is ranked No. 16 by PFF, No. 15 by the Sporting News and No. 30 by SI.
Bresee, Murphy and Simpson might be three Clemson players some of the national outlets think could be first-round picks, but the Tigers could have four, five or maybe six players taken in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, which be a first in Clemson history.
Clemson had a record three players selected in the 2019 NFL Draft. Clelin Ferrell went No. 4 to the Raiders, Christian Wilkins went No. 13 to the Miami Dolphins and Dexter Lawrence went No. 17 to the New York Giants.
Defensive ends Xavier Thomas and K.J. Henry, who will both be seniors this year, have first-round talent and depending on how well they play this and how far Clemson’s season goes, it is not crazy to think one or maybe both could make their way into the first round.
Defensive tackle Tyler Davis is the other potential first-round pick on the Clemson roster.
Defensive end Justin Mascoll and cornerback Sheridan Jones, depending on how the 2022 season goes, could also earn a selection in next year’s draft.
As of right now, there are just three draft prospects coming from the offensive side. Wide receiver Joseph Ngata, if he can show the NFL scouts that he can stay healthy and has a big year, the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder could earn a selection.
Tight end Davis Allen (6-6, 250) has all the tools to be an NFL tight end, but due to the Tigers’ issues on the offensive line, he has been unable to show off his talents as a pass catcher on a consistent basis.
The last Tiger All Clemson thinks could be drafted in 2023 is offensive tackle Jordan McFadden. He is heading into his third year as a starter and is a two-time All-ACC performer, already.