By Will Vandervort.
As many as five former Clemson Tigers will have their dreams of playing in the NFL come true over the next three days as the 2013 NFL Draft begins tonight at eight o’clock.
The NFL will host the first round of the draft from Radio City Music Hall in New York and will host the second and third rounds on Friday as well as rounds 4-7 on Saturday.
DeAndre Hopkins, who caught 82 passes for a school-record 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns, headlines the 2013 Class for the Tigers. Many so-called experts have Hopkins going to the Rams in the first round at No. 22. Some say he could go to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 21, the Minnesota Vikings at No. 25, the Houston Texans at No. 27 or the New England Patriots at No. 29 could be destinations as well.
If Hopkins should fall out of the first round, the Miami Dolphins will more than likely pick him up in the second round at No. 42.
Below is a breakdown of all the Tigers with a shot to be drafted.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, 6-1, 214 – Hopkins is considered one of the more reliable receivers in the draft. He has strong hands and the ability to go up and get the football from its highest point. He is strong enough to create separation coming off the line of scrimmage and runs good routes.
What the scouts say: “He does a good job creating separation and deceiving defensive backs with head fakes and quick moves. He will threaten top defenses with NFL-quality straight-line speed. He possesses strong hands in traffic and is not afraid of contact downfield. He is agile enough to quickly avoid oncoming defenders after the catch yet remain balanced to head downfield for the big gain.”
Projected round: First
Andre Ellington, RB, 5-9, 199 – Ellington has good vision and is explosive to the hole. His straight line speed is better than average, which, along with his vision in one-back sets, makes him appealing to NFL teams. The knock on him is inability to stay healthy. It did not help that he again missed some playing time during the season with an injury or the fact he tweaked his hamstring prior to the Senior Bowl, then again in the NFL Combine.
What the scouts say: “He has excellent balance in the open field to cut and has proven he can put his hand on the ground to stay upright as well as leaping defenders in the open field. He runs well for his size and plays bigger than he actually is and isn’t afraid to take a big hit. He is undersized, though he runs with great effort. His upper body isn’t as strong which will cause him to lose the ball at times. His pass blocking skills are okay, but need work. He sometimes goes at the feet of defenders instead of standing his ground and taking blocks head on.”
Projected round: Fourth
Malliciah Goodman, DE, 6-4, 276 – Goodman really showed out with his three sacks in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and then followed that up with a good performance in the NFL Combine. His 36 3/8 wingspan and his extremely large hands give him an edge with offensive tackles which allow him to never truly be out of play. He has a done of potential, which is why a team will take a chance with him in hopes he develops into a great pass rushing defensive end.
What the scouts say: “He has thick upper and lower body builds to go along with is long arms and hands. He shows consistent hand placement and can control and pop off his man to make stops. His hands are violent and he often doesn’t allow the offensive lineman to grab a hold of him when rushing the passer. Gets off the ball quickly for his size when in pass rush mode. He still doesn’t counter well when locked up and struggles to contain running backs on the edge.”
Projected round: fourth
Dalton Freeman, C, 6-5, 285 – Freeman is one of the smarter players in the draft. The son of a former college lineman and high school football coach, he plays with a lot of intelligence and tenacity. He is also very durable and is a good positional blocker with foot work to assist one guard and move over to the other. He also plays with good power in in short-yardage situations.
What the scout says: “He reaches linebackers on zone plays and runs between the tackles with some short-area quickness. He will extend his arms to send them out of the play if they try to out-quick him. As fundamentally sound as he is, he bends at the waist to sustain or lunge at targets at times and plays upright, losing leverage battles against bull rushes.
Projected round: Fifth round
Rashard Hall, S, 6-1, 210 – After graduating from college in only three years, there is little doubt when it comes to Hall’s intelligence. He is also a smart and determined player with NFL safety-caliber size and length.
What the scout says: “He diagnoses and closes fast on underneath routes when in zone coverage. Has good hands and knows how to make quarterbacks pay on overthrows or bad choices. He does not always get deep He angles to the ball and can be too aggressive at times, which can sometimes pay off and sometimes doesn’t.
Project round: Free agent