By Brentson Buckner.
Former Clemson Tiger and 12 year NFL defensive tackle Brentson Buckner is doing a weekly column with TheClemsonInsider.com. Brentson will share his thoughts on the Clemson football program, provide in-depth analysis and unique perspective on the Tigers. In this edition the former Super Bowl champ discusses the NFL combine, how the Tigers will do at the combine and much more!
I have been down working at Tom Shaw’s speed camp. I have been training Mike Pounce the center, guard out of the University of Florida and Justin Houston the linebacker from the University of Georgia. I don’t train them to just do good at the combine. I train them to be good professional football players. If they can get that down then the combine is going to be easy. When they go to the combine and they do the drills they are going to look like they already play on Sunday. We have been working hard. The guys are at the combine now and it is all in their hands.
You have some places that train the guys to do great in those tests and to put up great numbers. But you know the guys I was working with running 40’s they are going to be good, lifting weights they are going to be good. I concentrate more on football and NFL technique. The GM’s and coaches are looking for that. They are looking for guys that are more ready to play right now. When they sit there and evaluate guys they are looking at guys to see who can I put in a uniform today and they are ready to go out there and play. Who do they have to teach the least about the NFL game.
That is the way I approach it. I approached it that way with Glenn Dorsey and he was drafted No. 4 overall. I approached it that way with Brandon Graham and he was drafted No. 13 overall. I that is a good formula and these guys already have natural God given ability. I always look at it as my job to help bring out what God has already blessed them with.
I think Jenkins is going to be good. I think this is probably the most productive year I have seen from him. He has the size. He is built like an NFL football player. It is about his measurable. If he goes there and test well I think he is going to do good. He has what everybody is looking for. He is a 6-4, 6-5 300 pound plus guy that can take up space. Those guys don’t come down the pike too often. He played against some good talent and he had a good senior bowl.
The guy that has been moving up from what I have been hearing is Marcus Gilchrist. He is a guy that really never had a true position at Clemson. He played corner, he played safety and he played nickle. He is so athletic returning kicks. This guy here is moving up that ladder on the free safety board. He will do good because people are going to be amazed by his athletic ability.
Of course it has come out that DaQuan is only going to lift. He is one of those guys that feels comfortable just going back to his school and doing his workout. Nothing short of a disaster is going to keep him from being up there.
A guy that has a chance to improve himself back to where he was as a junior is DeAndre McDaniel. Here is a guy that after his junior year could have been a top 20 pick. Now he is looking at second or third round because his production fell off but I think he will do well.
I think all of those guys have a chance to move up. Even Chris Hairston, he has a chance to move up as well. I think Gilchrist has a chance to jump up higher than anyone coming from where he is right now. Jenkins has a good chance because I think defensive linemen are going to go quick and fast. When they start coming off the board they will move so he could go from 3rd to 2nd round quick. There will be a lot of them snatched up in that first round. I think it will be a good year if these guys put in the work that they needed to put in before the combine.
I won’t say DeAndre made a mistake coming back. I would never question that. I did the same thing. I could have been a top 20 pick as a junior, but I loved Clemson and I wanted to come back for my senior year. Hindsight is 20/20, so let’s say he is drafted in the second round and there is a new collective bargaining agreement. He may look back and say I made a mistake, but he can never get back that experience of being a senior.
The combine is real important. This is your first chance to be in front of the coaches, GMs and owners. You get a chance to compete against the best of the best in college football. It’s not all about running the 40 and doing the drills. It is more about getting a chance to sit in front of the GMs and coaches and let them into your mind. The first impression is a lasting impression so you better make a good one. I guarantee you are going to see a guy that goes in there and everybody has raved about him and the impression he makes in front of those GMs and coaches will drop him on the board. There will be other guys that go in there and everybody is like I don’t know, but they will elevate themselves by the way they carry themselves and talk with the coaches and GMs.