National Analyst Expects Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei to Go High In 2023 NFL Draft

Don’t tell Jason McIntyre Clemson is about to see a repeat of 2018.

Many seem to already be waiting to see what game freshman phenom Cade Klubnik takes over for DJ Uiagalelei, with many expecting it to play out in a similar way to the Trevor Lawrence and Kelly Bryant saga of 2018.

Not McIntyre, though. The FOX Sports analyst has tweeted out his Way Too Early 2023 NFL Mock Draft, with Uiagalelei as a Top-5 pick.

McIntyre has him going fourth overall to the Carolina Panthers.

Two things that make this interesting. One is Uiagalelei‘s struggles last season. He threw for just 2,247 yards, nine touchdowns, and ten interceptions, adding 308 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. He ranked at or near the bottom of most ACC statistical categories. He’s going to need a comeback of the year type performance to warrant that high of a selection.

The other fact that makes this projection interesting is the Panthers. Carolina has never drafted a Clemson player since the team was formed in 1993, despite playing their very first season in Death Valley. In the 2020 draft, the Panthers had the opportunity to take Isaiah Simmons at No. 7 overall, but passed on him in favor of Auburn DT Derrick Brown.

The reason? Because, according to David Newton of ESPN.com, while the Panthers thought Simmons was the best player available, they also thought he was a better fit on a veteran team because of his ability to play multiple positions. Make of that what you will.

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