John Simpson’s (offensive guard) pick by the Las Vegas Raiders, K’Von Wallace (safety) by the Philadelphia Eagles, and Tremayne Anchrum (offensive guard) by the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday brought the Tigers total number of draftees in this year’s draft to seven.
Those seven Clemson selections pushed the Tigers number of draft picks over the last five years to 31. That number adds to a very impressive five year stretch of drafts in the school’s long history. Six of Clemson’s seven picks were selected in rounds one through four, which breaks the program’s previous four round record of five. That record was set previously five times (1991, 2011, 2016, 2017 and 2019).
Isaiah Simmons started things off when he was taken by the Arizona Cardinals with the eighth pick of day one. Then, A.J. Terrell was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 16th overall pick (also in the first round), and Clemson’s Tee Higgins was picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals with the first pick of day two (33rd overall pick in the second round).
Tanner Muse was then taken by the Las Vegas Raiders with the 36th pick in the third round (100th overall). The Raiders then traded up 12 spots so they could get John Simpson with the third pick of the fourth round (No. 109 overall).
Simmons was the 2019 Butkus Award winner and became the first Clemson player in the award’s 35 year history to earn that honor. This award is presented annually to the nation’s top linebacker. Simmons also became the sixth unanimous All American in school history. Simmons was a Nagurski Trophy finalist, a Bednarik Award finalist, a Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist, and Walter Camp Player of the Year semifinalist. Simmons was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a first team All ACC selection. He is credited with a team high 107 tackles (16.0 for loss), 8.0 sacks, 10 pass breakups, three interceptions (returned for 42 yards), a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in 818 snaps over 15 games (all starts) in 2019.
In A.J. Terrell’s three years at Clemson he had 107 career tackles (3.5 for loss), 20 pass breakups, six interceptions (returned for a total of 160 yards that included a 44 yard touchdown), and two forced fumbles over 1,827 snaps in 44 games (30 starts). Terrell scored the first points of the 2018 Natty Championship with a pick six. He also helped the Tigers to a 29-1 record as a two year starter.
Muse was a mainstay on Clemson’s defense and special teams during their dominance over the past few seasons. Muse was a first team All ACC player in 2019 and third team AP All American. He started all 15 games, recorded 55 tackles (6 tackles for loss), and led the Tigers with four interceptions in 2019.
Simpson’s selection was also the Raiders’ second pick from Clemson in a span of nine picks. That is the shortest span of picks between selecting two Clemson players in the school’s history and passed the previous mark set when the Denver Broncos went 14 picks between Nick Eason and Bryant McNeal in 2003.
K’Von Wallace later became the second Tiger player to be taken on Day 3. He went to the Philadelphia Eagles as the 21st pick in the fourth round (#127 overall). Wallace’s pick was also a school history making pick. It was the third time in Clemson history that the Eagles had chosen a Clemson defensive back, that started in 1996 when the Eagles took Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins. Many would say this says a lot for Wallace’s abilites.
The Rams selection of Anchrum in the seventh round (No. 250 overall) will probably be special to him. Anchrum now heads to Los Angeles where his father, Tremayne Anchrum Sr., played basketball at USC. Simpson and Anchrum’s selections mark the first time Clemson has produced multiple offensive linemen in a single draft since 1998 (Glenn Rountree and Jim Bundren).
The number seven doesn’t seem like a huge number until you look at the other number above that shows the talent that Dabo Swinney and his Clemson family have been churning out year after year. Then think about the fact that some are already expecting next year’s Tigers to break, if not shatter, the record books on draft day.
Throw in that Dabo continues to tell everyone that the best is yet to come, and what should that tell fans? Most will agree that the Paw is here to stay…Not only in college, but in the NFL as well.Tre