Former Clemson DL in impressive NFL company

Former Clemson DL in impressive NFL company

Football

Former Clemson DL in impressive NFL company

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Former Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins was outstanding in his third NFL season with the Miami Dolphins.

The 2019 first-round draft pick posted 89 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 13 quarterback hits, four passes defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 17 games this season.

Wilkins’ numbers are even more impressive when you dig a little deeper.

According to Pro Football Focus, the 43 defensive stops Wilkins recorded this season are the fourth most among all NFL interior defensive linemen — behind only Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams (53 defensive stops), Jeffery Simmons of the Tennessee Titans (49) and Cameron Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers (47).

For those who may not be familiar with the statistic, a defensive stop, per PFF, “is a play where a defender makes a tackle, and the location of the tackle means the play is a successful one for the defense. … When a defender makes a tackle that isn’t a stop, it’s a lot less likely the defender did something right on the play.”

Wilkins clearly did a lot right this season and played a big role on the Dolphins defense.

Being mentioned in a statistic with Donald, Simmons and Heyward is certainly impressive company for Wilkins, considering Donald is a seven-time first-team All-Pro, Simmons was named a second-team All-Pro in 2021 and Heyward is a three-time first-team All-Pro.

If Wilkins keeps up the type of performance he displayed this season, it won’t be long before the former Tiger starts racking up accolades of his own.

–Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

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