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NASHVILLE — Clemson made school and NFL Draft history on the first night of the 2019 NFL Draft, featuring the selections of defensive end Clelin Ferrell to the Oakland Raiders at No. 4 overall, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins to the Miami Dolphins at No. 13 and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence to the New York Giants at No. 17. The output marked the first time Clemson had produced three first-round picks in a single draft.
The selections also marked the first time in NFL Draft history that a single school produced three players selected as defensive linemen in a single draft. The only other draft to feature three college defensive linemen from a single school in the first round was in 2006, when NC State’s Mario Williams, Manny Lawson and John McCargo went with the Nos. 1, 22 and 26 picks, respectively, though Lawson was officially submitted as a linebacker.
The night in Nashville started with a bang, as the Oakland Raiders selected Ferrell with the fourth overall pick. Ferrell’s selection at No. 4 tied for the highest selection for Clemson all-time, matching the fourth overall selections of Banks McFadden (1939), Gaines Adams (2007) and Sammy Watkins (2014).
Wilkins was next off the board to Miami at No. 13, becoming the first player from Clemson to be selected in the first round in Dolphins history. Of Clemson’s nine all-time selections by Miami, each of the last four (DE Phillip Merling, S Chris Clemons, CB Cordrea Tankersley and Wilkins) have come from the defensive side of the ball.
Lawrence became Clemson’s historic third selection of the evening at No. 17 overall. Lawrence’s selection continued a pipeline of Clemson players being drafted by the Giants, representing the franchise’s 18th selection from Clemson all-time, moving past the Pittsburgh Steelers (17) for the most of any franchise.
With the three selections, Clemson has now had 54 players selected since Dabo Swinney became head coach in December of 2008. With six rounds still remaining, the 2019 draft already represents the 12th consecutive year Clemson has had at least three players selected in the NFL Draft.