All the hard work, all of the ups and downs, it finally paid off for Cornell Powell on Saturday.
With the 181st pick of the NFL Draft, Powell finally heard his name called when the Kansas City Chiefs selected him in the fifth round.
While Powell’s story might seem a tad unusual to the general college football fan, it is one that has played out in front of the eyes of Clemson fans on more than one occasion.
Expectations were high when Powell arrived at Clemson as part of the 2016 recruiting class. The former four-star player wasn’t just considered one of the best receiving prospects coming out of high school, he was widely considered a Top-100 player overall. One recruiting service ranked him No. 36 in the nation.
However, Powell’s career got off to a slower than expected start. Then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, four years had passed and Powell still hadn’t made his mark on the field.
It would have been easy for Powell to have decided to transfer out and start fresh somewhere else. He was absolutely good enough to go somewhere else and crack the two-deep, but giving up isn’t in his nature. In fact, that determination is part of why the Chiefs drafted Powell.
“You got a unique skill set,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy told Powell. “On top of that, you have the right temperament to come in here and help us to be better now.”
His patience and hard work eventually paid off. Powell exploded as a fifth year senior in 2020. He recorded career highs in receptions (53), receiving yards (882), receiving touchdowns (seven), snaps (630) and starts (12). His seven receiving touchdowns were tied with Amari Rodgers for the team lead and he was named third-team All ACC.
“I have so much more to show to everyone,” Powell said. “What I displayed this season is like not even scratching the surface yet, so I’m just ready to come to Kansas City and just grind man.”
Powell is going into a great situation with Kansas City. One of the best teams in the league, with one of the most explosive offenses and led by triggerman Patrick Mahomes, arguably the NFL’s best quarterback. It’s also a team loaded with talented skill players and Powell knows the competition will be fierce.
Although, coming from Clemson, Powell is used to having to earn his opportunities on the field.
“Being at Clemson you have great players around you and you just got to learn how to prove yourself each and every day,” Powell told the media Saturday. “I love to compete. Going into a great wide receiver core, and Andy Reid, everyone’s gonna expect the best out of me from day one. The NFL is a business so you got to got to be able to go in there and and earn everything you get.”
At the end of the day, Powell said that when it comes to goals, his biggest one is the same as most every other player entering the NFL. He wants to win a ring.
“The ultimate goal is just to win a Super Bowl so, you know, I’m ready to do that.”