Prior to Thursday’s first round of the NFL Draft, Clemson had produced five years in which it had at least two players selected in the opening round. However, the program never did it in back-to-back years. That changed on Thursday night.
With Isaiah Simmons’ selection at No. 8 to the Arizona Cardinals and A.J. Terrell’s pick by the Atlanta Falcons at No. 16 in the 2020 NFL Draft, it marked the second straight year Clemson produced multiple first-round selections in the draft. In the 2019 Draft, Clelin Ferrell (No. 4), Christian Wilkins (No. 13) and Dexter Lawrence (No. 17) were all picked in the opening round.
Clemson also produced multiple first-round picks on defense for the second year in a row. The Tigers had two offensive players selected in the 1979 and 2017 first rounds and had one offensive and one defensive player selected in 1982. In 2015, two defensive players were selected.
The program produced two Top 16 picks for the third time in school history and the third time in four drafts, joining the 2017 (Mike Williams and Deshaun Watson) and 2019 drafts.
Clemson has now had at least one first-round selection in seven of the last eight NFL Drafts. Clemson is one of only three schools with at least one first-round pick in at least seven of the last eight drafts, alongside Alabama and Florida.
Clemson extended its streak of consecutive drafts with at least one selection to 18 since 2003, representing the second-longest streak in school history behind a 24-year streak across the 1951-1974 NFL Drafts.
Simmons and Terrell became the 33rd and 34th first-round picks in Clemson history and the 12th and 13th under head coach Dabo Swinney. Clemson heads into Friday’s second and third rounds with 59 players under Swinney’s watch that have been picked in the NFL Draft.
More on Simmons’ selection:
Simmons became the 15th Clemson player selected by the Cardinals all-time, the third-most of any franchise. He is the Cardinals’ first selection from Clemson since running back Andre Ellington in the 2013 NFL Draft.
He surpasses Harold Olson (No. 13 overall in 1960) as the highest pick from Clemson in Cardinals history. Simmons became the first first-round pick from Clemson in Cardinals history, as the 1960 NFL Draft featuring Olson only featured 12 teams.
Simmons joins Vic Beasley (2015) as the only No. 8 overall selections in Clemson history. Simmons is now tied with Beasley for the ninth-highest selection from Clemson.
He became Clemson’s 12th top 10 pick all-time, including the No. 4 overall pick of Clelin Ferrell last year, he gave Clemson back-to-back drafts with a top 10 selection for the third time in Clemson history (1982-83 with Jeff Bryant and Terry Kinard; Sammy Watkins and Vic Beasley in 2014-15).
Simmons became the first Clemson linebacker selected in the first round since Stephone Anthony in 2015 (No. 31 by the New Orleans Saints). Coincidentally, now three of Clemson’s four linebackers selected in the first round all-time have had the surname Simmons, including Wayne Simmons in 1993 and Anthony Simmons in 1998.
His selection marks the third straight draft in which a defensive player was the first Clemson player selected. The last offensive player to be the first Clemson player selected in a draft was wide receiver Mike Williams (No. 7 overall in 2017).
More on Terrell’s selection
Terrell is the third-highest selection among cornerbacks in Clemson history, trailing Donnell Woolford’s No. 11 overall selection by the Chicago Bears in 1989 and Tye Hill’s No. 15 overall selection in 2006.
He became the 14th defensive back selected in the Swinney era dating back to the 2009 NFL Draft.
Terrell was Clemson’s second No. 16 overall selection all-time, joining defensive tackle Chester McGlockton’s 1992 selection by the Los Angeles Raiders.
He became the eighth Clemson player selected by the Falcons all-time, joining defensive back Rod McSwain (1984), cornerback Reggie Pleasant (1985), running back Kenny Flowers (1987), defensive end Malliciah Goodman (2013), defensive end Vic Beasley (2015) and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (2015), as well as the 1966 Supplemental Draft selection of linebacker Randy Smith.
Terrell was selected by his hometown Atlanta Falcons, becoming the first Clemson player selected to play for his home state team since the Falcons selected Georgia natives Vic Beasley (Day 1) and Grady Jarrett (Day 3) in 2015.
—Clemson Athletics Communications contributed to this story
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