WHAT: 86th Annual National Football League Player Selection Meeting
WHERE: Cleveland, Ohio
WHEN: 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 29 (Round 1); 7 p.m. ET on Friday, April 30 (Rounds 2-3); Noon ET on Saturday, May 1 (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: The 2021 NFL Draft will be televised nationally by NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Live audio coverage will be provided by SiriusXM (Rounds 1-7), Westwood One (Round 1) and ESPN Radio (Rounds 1-7).
CLEMSON PARTICIPATION: Clemson will not have any personnel on-site in Cleveland. Presumptive No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence has elected to watch the draft with friends and family from his home in Clemson. Potential first-round pick Travis Etienne will also participate virtually from the Dallas area in lieu of being on-site.
Click portraits below for bios of Clemson’s draft-eligible players. Click here for pro testing results.
Thursday evening could be historic for Clemson, as the 2021 NFL Draft could produce the program’s first No. 1 overall draft pick in history.
Two years 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 in the 2019 NFL Draft. 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.
If Trevor Lawrence is selected with the No. 1 overall pick:
Jacksonville selecting Lawrence with the first pick would give Clemson Athletics its second No. 1 overall pick across all sports in the last two years, as Robbie Robinson of Clemson men’s soccer was selected with the No. 1 pick of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft.
Clemson Football accounts for five of the university’s 13 top-five picks in its programs’ respective sports all-time. Clemson has also produced four top-five picks in men’s soccer, three in baseball and one in women’s soccer.
Two of Clemson’s top five picks in men’s soccer came earlier this year, when Philip Mayaka and Kimarni Smith were selected third and fourth overall, respectively, in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft. If Trevor Lawrence were to be selected in the top five picks of the 2021 NFL Draft, 2021 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). It would be the first year in which Clemson Athletics has accounted for three top-five picks.
Clemson’s highest draft selections across all sports are listed below.
During Clemson’s stretch of six consecutive College Football Playoff berths, the Tigers have produced 31 NFL Draft picks, tied for fifth-most in the country.
NFL DRAFT PICKS SINCE 2015 SEASON (2016 NFL DRAFT)
SCHOOL: PICKS1) Alabama: 482) Ohio State: 453) LSU: 374) Florida: 325t) Clemson: 315t) Michigan: 31
Clemson has produced 49 NFL Draft picks during its current streak of 10 consecutive 10-win seasons, the fifth-most picks from a single school dating back to the 2011 college football season (2012 NFL Draft).
NFL DRAFT PICKS SINCE 2011 SEASON (2012 NFL DRAFT)
SCHOOL: PICKS1) Alabama: 802) LSU: 643) Ohio State: 634) Florida: 545) Clemson: 49
Including his interim head coaching stint in 2008, Dabo Swinney has served as head coach for a total of 64 draft picks from Clemson, the second-most of any active college coach.
NFL DRAFT PICKS BY ACTIVE COACHES SINCE 2008(2009 NFL DRAFT)
COACH: PICKS1) Nick Saban: 962) Dabo Swinney: 643) Jimbo Fisher: 574) Brian Kelly: 545) Kirk Ferentz: 46
In that time frame, Swinney has produced 13 first-round picks, the second-most among active coaches.
FIRST-ROUND PICKS BY ACTIVE COACHES SINCE 2008(2009 NFL DRAFT)
COACH: PICKS1) Nick Saban: 332) Dabo Swinney: 133t) Jimbo Fisher: 93t) Brian Kelly: 95) Kirk Ferentz: 7
Swinney’s 64 picks in all rounds are tied for the third-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: 962) Urban Meyer: 653t) Dabo Swinney: 643t) Mark Richt: 645) Les Miles: 596) Jimbo Fisher: 577) Brian Kelly: 548) Bob Stoops: 479) Kirk Ferentz: 4610) Kyle Whittingham: 43
Clemson enters the 2021 NFL Draft riding a number of notable draft accomplishments:
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 six 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 four 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.
Two years ago, 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.
Last year, Clemson produced No. 8 overall pick Isaiah Simmons (Arizona Cardinals) and the No. 16 overall pick A.J. Terrell (Atlanta Falcons), giving Clemson multiple first-round picks in back-to-back years for the first time in program history.
Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma enter the 2021 NFL Draft as the only schools that have produced multiple first-round picks in each of the last two drafts.
With no members of Clemson’s young defensive unit from 2020 declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft, Clemson is unlikely to challenge its school record for selections in a single draft. Last year’s total of seven selections in the 2020 NFL Draft was one shy of cracking the top five in school history.
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 2021 NFL Draft, Clemson has had at least one player selected in the NFL Draft in 18 consecutive years. Another selection in 2021 would push the streak to 19, 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*: 183) 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 2020 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 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: 91t) Ohio State: 93) Georgia: 84t) LSU: 74t) Oklahoma: 7
A year ago, Tee Higgins narrowly missed becoming Clemson’s fourth first-round pick at wide receiver in an eight-year span, as he was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the first pick of the second round. Since the 2012 season (2013 NFL Draft), NFL teams have selected a total 31 wide receivers in the first rounds. Clemson accounts for nearly a full 10 percent of those selections, ranking second in the country with three first-round receivers:
FIRST-ROUND WIDE RECEIVERS DRAFTED SINCE 2012 SEASON (2013 NFL DRAFT)
School: No.1) Alabama: 42) Clemson: 33t) Arizona State: 23t) LSU: 23t) Oklahoma: 23t) TCU: 23t) West Virginia: 2
While odds may seemingly be slim with only 32 teams and 259 picks in this year’s draft, Clemson could actually have a pair of teammates drafted by a single team for the sixth time in a seven-year span. A total of 18 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, 2019 and 2020 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. In 2019, the Raiders matched that mark, selecting Clelin Ferrell, Trayvon Mullen and Hunter Renfrow in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Raiders made a little more Clemson teammate history in 2020, selecting Tanner Muse with the No. 100 overall pick and John Simpson with the No. 109 overall pick. The span of nine picks represented the shortest span of picks between one team selecting two Clemson players in school history, passing the 14 picks between the Denver Broncos’ selections of Nick Eason and Bryant McNeal in 2003.
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 active 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 and 2020), Rams (1998), Steelers (1951 and 1972), Texans (2017) and Vikings (2016).
For decades, the Raiders operated under an iconic phrase from legendary owner Al Davis: “Just win, baby.”
It’s been “Just #ALLIN, Baby” for the silver and black since the 2019 NFL Draft.
Nine different organizations have selected at least one Clemson player in the 2019 and/or 2020 NFL Drafts. While eight organizations (Bengals, Cardinals, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Giants, Lions and Rams) have each selected one Clemson player in that span, the Raiders far and away lead the pack with five Clemson selections in that time frame.
In 2019, the then-Oakland Raiders selected defensive end Clelin Ferrell, cornerback Trayvon Mullen and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, marking the Raiders’ first time selecting three players from the same school in a single draft in franchise history. It marked only the second time in history that a team had selected three Clemson players in a single draft (1983). Safety Tanner Muse and guard John Simpson joined the organization a year later, getting selected by the Raiders nine picks apart in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock has spoken highly of the program that has produced so many of his recent draft selections.
“They’ve all played in a bunch of big football games in their collegiate careers,” Mayock said. “They’ve all competed at the highest level, including against Alabama for National Championships. They’ve graduated, their character is phenomenal, I think Dabo [has done] a great job of really turning that program into, obviously, one of the top programs in the country… It’s a combination of watching the film itself and evaluating the player, it’s knowing what type of program they came out of, which preaches accountability to your yourself, your teammates, your coaches, and your university.”
This year, the Raiders can become the first team to select a Clemson player in three consecutive drafts since the Buffalo Bills selected someone from Clemson in four straight drafts from 2013-16. Prior to the Bills, it had last been accomplished by the Seattle Seahawks across the 1981-83 NFL Drafts and the Baltimore Colts across the 1980-82 NFL Drafts.
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 two by the Arizona Cardinals, including linebacker Isaiah Simmons last year.
The Cardinals’ 15 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). Five franchises (49ers, Bears, Bills, Colts) and Rams) are tied for fourth, with 12 Clemson selections each all-time.
Clemson has produced a total of 277 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 263 players, as 14 were selected multiple times and/or in multiple leagues prior to the Common Draft era (since 1967).