NFL Draft Watch 2024: Where Could Exciting Clemson Tiger Prospects Land?

The 2024 NFL Draft is coming up on Thursday April 25, and 10 Clemson Tigers are on the board.

Eight defensive prospects, and two offensive standouts, headline Clemson’s 2024 draft class, and speculation has been rampant about where each player could fall in the NFL Draft pecking order. As the draft approaches, here are a few things that help each of the Tigers’ prospects stand out to scouts.

Tyler Davis

Defensive tackle Tyler Davis entered the NFL draft after a terrific five-year career at Clemson. He was a four-time All-ACC selection for the Tigers, including three straight first team nods from 2021-2023, and was named second team All-American in 2022. He became the fifth player in program history to be a four-time All-ACC selection. Davis finished his Clemson career with 167 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss, and 16 sacks. Davis projects to be a early round selection.

Sheridan Jones

The 2024 NFL Draft is deep at the cornerback position. One of the most intriguing prospects is Sheridan Jones, a five-year player for the Tigers. Jones is a well-respected player and P.A.W. Journey Ambassador at Clemson. He was also a three-time ACC Honor Roll Selection for his academic performance in the classroom. On the field, Jones was a stalwart, recording 108 career tackles, 10 pass break-ups, and three interceptions over five seasons. Jones is an athletic prospect and projects to be a mid to late round selection.

Justin Mascoll

Justin Mascoll was not the flashiest player on the Clemson defense, but he was a steady presence that made a greater impact in the final two years of his career with the Tigers. The former 4-star prospect from South Gwinnett High School in Georgia, spent six years on Clemson’s campus after arriving as part of the 2018 recruiting class. Over 1,450 career snaps, Mascoll recorded 111 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and three sacks over 64 career games. He projects to be a possible late round selection or could be signed as an undrafted free agent.

Ruke Orhorhoro

Orhorhoro was yet another five-year player for Clemson, and saw his role increase steadily with each season. He earned a starting role in 2022 and 2023 and earned All-ACC honors in 2023. He was also a two-time ACC Honor Roll Selection. He played in 53 games for Clemson, tallying 97 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks. Ruke is projected as a middle to late round selection in the NFL Draft.

Jalyn Phillips

Cornerback Jalyn Phillps played five seasons for Clemson and was a respected leader of the defense. Phillips played in 60 career games and logged 1,558 snaps in his career. He racked up 187 tackles including five for loss, 14 pass break-ups, and two interceptions. He is one of just nine players to appear in 60 or more career games for the Tigers. His steady presence should be intriguing to NFL teams, and Phillips could be a late round selection by a team in need of depth and stability at corner.

Xavier Thomas

Xavier Thomas is one of the longest-tenured Clemson players of all-time, playing six years for the Tigers. A member of the 2018 recruiting class, the loyal defensive end battled injuries and personal struggles to overcome adversity and put together a memorable career at Clemson. He was a near-unanimous freshman All-American selection in 2018 and was named all-conference in 2019 and 2021. He started 30 of his 61 career games as a Tiger and recorded 113 tackles and 34 for loss and six forced fumbles over 1,855 career snaps. Thomas might be selected in the late rounds but will be a nice addition to any NFL roster.

Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

Trotter is one of the highest projected draft picks in Clemson’s 2024 draft class, with some analysts projecting him as a first-round pick while others have him going in the second round. Jeremiah was a monster on the Clemson defense during his three seasons with the Tigers. He was a Butkus Award finalist and a multi-time All-American selection. In three years as a Tiger he recorded 202 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions with two returned for touchdowns, and 13 sacks in 1,413 career snaps. Look for Trotter Jr. to be one of the first linebackers off the board.

Nate Wiggins

Cornerback Nate Wiggins is a near sure-fire first round selection in 2024 NFL Draft. Wiggins was the leader of the Clemson secondary in 2023, and that built off an impressive finish to his sophomore season in 2022. His combination of size, speed, and ball skills make him a highly coveted NFL prospect. In three seasons at Clemson, he notched 60 tackles and three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns, and 24 pass breakups. He was a first team All-ACC selection in 2022 and 2023. Wiggins is projected by many to be the first cornerback to come off the board.

Will Shipley

Running back Will Shipley is one of two offensive players in the draft for Clemson, and the all-purpose back is an intriguing prospect. Shipley was not always the featured back for the Tigers, splitting reps with others like Phil Mafah. But nobody doubts that the junior was an electric player. He finished his career with 2,747 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns while averaging 76.3 yards per game. In 2022 he became the first player in ACC history to be selected first team All-ACC in three categories (running back, all-purpose, and specialist). He also earned Academic All-American honors. Shipley projects to be a mid-round selection to a team looking for a versatile back who can run, catch, and stretch defenses.

Will Putnam

Clemson has not had much success putting offensive linemen in the NFL in recent years, but the steady and dependable Will Putnam could surprise teams. Putnam was a mainstay along the line for the Tigers and played five seasons in Death Valley. He was a two-time All-ACC selection and four-year starter as a Clemson Tiger and may be one of the more underrated lineman prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. Wherever Putnam lands, if given a chance, could be a very good NFL lineman. He projects as a mid to late round selection.

By the numbers:

Clemson has been one of the most prolific programs in the country at putting players in the NFL under head coach Dabo Swinney’s leadership. Swinney leads all active college coaches with 77 draft picks in his career. Since 2014, the Tigers have had at least five players drafted in eight separate drafts.

Clemson has had 49 players drafted in the past 10 seasons, and since 2009 has had 17 players selected in the first round which is the most for any active coach in college football. Clemson has had a player selected in the first round in nine of the last 11 drafts.

Since 2003, 30 of the 32 teams in the NFL have drated a player from Clemson, with the two exceptions being the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers. The Patriots have not selected a Clemson player since 1991, and the Panthers have never drafted a Clemson player in the history of the franchise.

Clemson fans will be eagerly anticipating this year’s draft to see where the next generation of Tigers will play professional football.

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