For the first time since 2014, Clemson had an offensive lineman picked in the NFL Draft when the Las Vegas Raiders took guard John Simpson with the No. 109th overall pick in the fourth round Saturday in the 2020 NFL Draft. He is just the third Clemson offensive lineman drafted in the Dabo Swinney era.
Simpson is the second Clemson player in the 2020 NFL Draft selected by the Raiders. He is joined by safety Tanner Muse who was the 100th pick on Day 2 of the draft by the Raiders.
Last year, the Raiders drafted three former Clemson players. Defensive end Clelin Ferrell was taken in the first round (No. 4) by the Raiders. Trayvon Mullen was picked in the second round (No. 40) and Hunter Renfrow went in the fifth round (117).
With Simpson’s fourth-round pick, he joined Isaiah Simmons, A.J. Terrell, Tee Higgins and Muse as former Tigers selected in the 2020 Draft. Simmons was the No. 8 overall pick in the draft to Arizona, while Terrell went to Atlanta (No. 16) in the first round. Higgins was the No. 33 overall pick in the second round to Cincinnati and Muse was picked by the Raiders in the third round.
Simpson helped lead a Clemson offense that ranked 10th nationally at running the football (252.9 yds/game) and led the nation in yards per carry (6.5). The Tigers also allowed just 13 sacks on the year, which ranked sixth nationally and led the ACC in tackles for loss allowed with just 59.
He helped Clemson to a 29-1 record in his two years as a starter. Simpson played in 50 games overall in his Clemson career.
In 2019, Simpson was a consensus All-American, the sixth Clemson offensive lineman to earn consensus All-American honors all-time, joining Harry Olszewski (1967), Stacy Long (1990), Jeb Flesch (1991), Stacy Seegars (1993) and Mitch Hyatt (2018).
Simpson was an Outland Trophy semifinalist and earned first-team All-ACC honors as well. He started 14 of the Tigers’ 15 games last year.
Prior to Simpson, former Tiger Brandon Thomas was that last Clemson offensive lineman taken in the NFL Draft. He was picked in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 100th pick by the San Francisco 49ers.
Before Thomas was taken, Chris Hairston was selected in the fourth round (No. 122) in the 2011 NFL Draft.
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