WHAT: 85th Annual National Football League Player Selection Meeting
WHERE: To be held remotely in observance of COVID-19 protocols
WHEN: 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 23 (Round 1); 7 p.m. ET on Friday, April 24 (Rounds 2-3); Noon ET on Saturday, April 25 (Rounds 4-7)
TIMING: Round 1: 10 minutes per selection. Round 2: Seven minutes per selection. Rounds 3 through 6, including compensatory picks: Five minutes per selection. Round 7, including compensatory picks: Four minutes per selection.
TELEVISION: A “Draft-A-Thon” will be featured across the live draft coverage on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and NFL Network and pay tribute to healthcare workers and first responders in a variety of ways – including raising funds for the work being done to combat the impact of COVID-19.
CLEMSON PARTICIPATION: Three Clemson players are expected to participate in NFL “Draft-A-Thon” coverage, including wide receiver Tee Higgins, linebacker Isaiah Simmons and cornerback A.J. Terrell.
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One year ago, defensive end Clelin Ferrell, a two-time AP All-American, tied the Clemson record for the highest draft selection in program history when he was selected No. 4 overall by the Oakland Raiders. Prior to Ferrell, three other Clemson players — Sammy Watkins (2014), Gaines Adams (2007) and Banks McFadden (1940) — had been selected with the No. 4 overall pick all-time.
Included below are Clemson’s highest draft picks in program history.
According to mock drafts, linebacker Isaiah Simmons has been projected as a consensus Top 10 selection, with many placing him inside the Top 5. One of the most common projections has featured Simmons to the New York Giants at No. 4. If Simmons is indeed selected by the Giants with the fourth overall pick:
Clemson Football accounts for five of the university’s 11 top-five picks in its programs’ respective sports all-time. Clemson has also produced three top-five picks in baseball, two in men’s soccer and one in women’s soccer.
Earlier this year, Robbie Robinson of Clemson men’s soccer was selected with the No. 1 pick of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. If Simmons were to be selected in the top five picks of the 2020 NFL Draft, 2020 would mark the fourth year in school history in which Clemson has had multiple top-five picks across all sports, joining 1996 (baseball’s Kris Benson and Billy Koch), 2007 (football’s Gaines Adams and baseball’s Daniel Moskos) and 2019 (football’s Clelin Ferrell and women’s soccer’s Sam Staab).
Clemson’s highest draft selections across all sports are listed below.
During Clemson’s stretch of five consecutive College Football Playoff berths, the Tigers have produced 24 NFL Draft picks, fourth-most in the country.
NFL DRAFT PICKS SINCE 2015 SEASON (2016 NFL DRAFT)
SCHOOL: PICKS1) Alabama: 392) Ohio State: 353) Florida: 254) Clemson: 245) LSU: 23
Clemson has produced 42 NFL Draft picks during its current streak of nine consecutive 10-win seasons, the seventh-most picks from a single school dating back to the 2011 college football season (2012 NFL Draft).
Including his interim head coaching stint in 2008, Dabo Swinney has served as head coach for a total of 57 draft picks from Clemson, the third-most by any active coach.
NFL DRAFT PICKS BY ACTIVE COACHES SINCE 2008(2009 NFL DRAFT)
COACH: PICKS1) Nick Saban: 872) Les Miles: 583) Dabo Swinney: 574) Jimbo Fisher: 555) Brian Kelly: 48
In that time frame, Swinney has produced 11 first-round picks, the second-most among active coaches.
FIRST-ROUND PICKS BY ACTIVE COACHES SINCE 2008(2009 NFL DRAFT)
COACH: PICKS1) Nick Saban: 292) Dabo Swinney: 113) Les Miles: 104t) Jimbo Fisher: 94t) Brian Kelly: 9
Swinney’s 57 picks in all rounds are the fifth-most of all coaches — active or inactive — in that time frame.
NFL DRAFT PICKS BY ALL COACHES SINCE 2008(2009 NFL DRAFT)
COACH: PICKS1) Nick Saban: 872) Urban Meyer: 653) Mark Richt: 644) Les Miles: 585) Dabo Swinney: 576) Jimbo Fisher: 557) Brian Kelly: 488) Bob Stoops: 479) Kirk Ferentz: 4110) Bret Bielema: 39
Clemson enters the 2020 NFL Draft with a number of notable draft streaks intact.
In 2010, the NFL changed the format of the NFL Draft, moving from conducting the first three rounds on a Saturday and the final four rounds on a Sunday to a format that featured Round 1 on Thursday night, Rounds 2-3 on Friday night, and Rounds 4-7 on Saturday. The new format pushed the first round into the spotlight in prime-time, and Clemson could once again shine in that spotlight in 2020.
Clemson has produced multiple first rounders in the NFL Draft five times. In 1979, the dynamic quarterback-receiver duo of Steve Fuller and Jerry Butler became the first pair of Clemson teammates to go in the first round of the same draft, as Butler was selected fifth overall by the Buffalo Bills and Fuller went 23rd overall to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Three years later following Clemson’s first national championship, the Tigers produced another first-round duo, as defensive tackle Jeff Bryant was selected sixth overall by the Seattle Seahawks and wide receiver Perry Tuttle earned the 19th overall selection from the Bills.
The other three instances have both come under current Head Coach Dabo Swinney. Clemson’s beloved 2014 defense produced two first rounders in defensive end Vic Beasley (No. 8 to Atlanta) and linebacker Stephone Anthony (No. 31 to New Orleans) in the 2015 NFL Draft. Two years later, the 2016 national champion Tigers placed two offensive stars in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, sending wide receiver Mike Williams to the then-San Diego Chargers at No. 7 and quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Houston Texans at No. 12.
Last year, Clemson produced three first-round picks in a single draft for the first time in school history, with Clelin Ferrell (No. 4 to the Raiders), Christian Wilkins (No. 13 to the Dolphins) and Dexter Lawrence (No. 17 to the Giants) all going in the first round. It marked the first time in NFL Draft history that a single school produced three players selected as defensive linemen in the first round of a single draft.
In February, Clemson sent seven players to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. If all seven were to get drafted, it would pull within three draftees of Clemson’s single-draft record of 10, set in 1983.
MOST SELECTIONS FROM CLEMSON BY YEAR
YEAR: TOTAL1) 1983: 102t) 2016: 92t) 1984: 9^2t) 1960: 9*5) 1991: 8^Includes 3 selections in NFL Supplemental Draft of USFL Players*Includes 5 AFL selections (four of whom were also selected in the NFL Draft)
Entering the 2020 NFL Draft, Clemson has had at least one player selected in the NFL Draft in 17 consecutive years. Another selection in 2020 would push the streak to 18, adding to Clemson’s second-longest such streak. Clemson had at least one player selected in the NFL Draft every year across the 1951-74 NFL Drafts, a span of 24 years.
LONGEST CONSECUTIVE DRAFT STREAKS(CLEMSON HISTORY)
DRAFTS: NO.1) 1951-74: 242) 2003-19*: 173) 1987-99: 13*Active
After having no selections in the 2002 NFL Draft, Clemson’s current streak started when DT Nick Eason and DE Bryant McNeal were both selected by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. That also marks only time in history that two Clemson teammates were selected by the same team in the same round.
Clemson’s status as an elite producer of pro talent has been inarguable in recent years, particularly at wide receiver, where the school has adopted the moniker of “Wide Receiver U” (or #WRU in hashtag form). A recent Sports Illustrated analysis confirmed the distinction adding, “How prolific has Clemson been? Eleven of their receivers who entered the league between 2010 and ’19 started at least one game in the NFL. The Tigers are led by DeAndre Hopkins and his three All-Pro nods—only Central Michigan alum Antonio Brown has more. Added up, it’s enough to hold off a Michael Thomas–led Ohio State group, in large part because the Buckeyes didn’t have a single first-round pick in the 2010s.”
Since the 2012 season (2013 NFL Draft), Clemson is one of three schools tied for the most wide receivers selected in the NFL Draft.
MOST WIDE RECEIVERS DRAFTED SINCE 2012 SEASON(2013 NFL DRAFT)
School: No.1t) Clemson: 81t) Georgia: 81t) Ohio State: 84t) LSU: 54t) Oklahoma: 54t) West Virginia: 5
Clemson could produce its fourth first-round receiver in an eight-draft span if Tee Higgins were to be selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Since the 2012 season (2013 NFL Draft), NFL teams have selected a total 25 wide receivers in the first rounds. Clemson accounts for a full 12 percent of those selections, leading the country with three first-round receivers:
FIRST-ROUND WIDE RECEIVERS DRAFTED SINCE 2012 SEASON (2013 NFL DRAFT)
School: No.1) Clemson: 32t) Alabama: 22t) West Virginia: 24t) 18 schools tied: 1
While odds may seemingly be slim with 32 teams and 255 picks in this year’s draft, Clemson could actually have a pair of teammates drafted by a single team for the fifth time in a six-year span. A total of 17 NFL Drafts have featured at least one team drafting a pair of Clemson teammates, including the 1946, 1951, 1955, 1959, 1960, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1979, 1983, 1991, 1998, 2003, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 drafts.
In addition, in 1984, the New York Giants selected Jim Scott in the NFL Draft and added James Robinson via the Supplemental Draft for USFL Players. The 1960 AFL Draft also featured both Lou Cordileone and Harold Olson’s selections by the Buffalo Bills.
For three-and-a-half decades, the Giants held the record for the most Clemson players selected in one draft, selecting Terry Kinard, Andy Headen and Frank Magwood in the famed 1983 NFL Draft. Last year, the Raiders matched that mark, selecting Clelin Ferrell, Trayvon Mullen and Hunter Renfrow in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The 1991 and 1998 NFL Drafts both featured two sets of Clemson teammates sticking together in the selection meeting. In 1991, Chris Gardocki and Stacy Long were both selected by the Chicago Bears while Dexter Davis and Vince Hammond went to the Phoenix Cardinals. In 1998, the St. Louis Rams selected Raymond Priester and Glenn Rountree and the Miami Dolphins selected Lorenzo Bromell and Jim Bundren.
Seventeen of the NFL’s 32 present franchises have selected Clemson teammates in a single draft. The teams to do so include the Bears (1991), Bills (1960 AFL Draft), Broncos (2003), Browns (1968), Cardinals (1991), Chiefs (1979), Cowboys (1970), Dolphins (1998), Eagles (1955 and 1959), Falcons (2015), Giants (1960, 1983 and 1984, including Supplemental Draft of USFL Players), Packers (1946), Raiders (2019), Rams (1998), Steelers (1951 and 1972), Texans (2017) and Vikings (2016).
Clemson has had at least one player selected by 30 of the 32 active NFL franchises.
The Baltimore Ravens have never selected a player from Clemson since arriving in Charm City in 1996. The city has been host to nine Clemson draft picks though, including one by the AAFC’s Baltimore Colts and eight by the NFL’s Baltimore Colts before the franchise’s relocation to Indianapolis.
The other team without a Clemson draft pick to its historical ledger is the Carolina Panthers, a franchise whose very roots trace back to Death Valley. The franchise that is now housed less than 150 miles from Clemson’s campus has never selected a Clemson Tiger despite playing all of their home games in their inaugural 1995 campaign at Memorial Stadium.
Few NFL franchises have been as nomadic as the Cardinals, who have laid claim to four different municipalities in three different metro areas since their inception in 1920. Clemson has had at least one player selected by every iteration of the Cardinals, including four by the Chicago Cardinals, seven by the St. Louis Cardinals, two by the Phoenix Cardinals and one by the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals’ 14 selections from Clemson are the third-most by any single franchise all-time, trailing the New York Giants (18, plus a supplemental selection from the USFL in 1984) and Pittsburgh Steelers (17). Four franchises (49ers, Bears, Bills and Colts) are tied for fourth, with 12 Clemson selections each all-time.
Clemson has produced a total of 270 professional draft selections by major American leagues, including the NFL Draft, NFL Supplemental Draft, NFL Supplemental Draft of USFL Players, AFL Draft and AFL Redshirt Draft. The list includes 256 players, as 14 were selected multiple times and/or in multiple leagues prior to the Common Draft era (since 1967).