With another strong season, wide receiver Tee Higgins could be ready to make the jump to the NFL
Clemson had all four of its starting defensive linemen taken in the first four rounds of the most recent NFL Draft, with three of those going on the very first day. But only two other Tigers — cornerback Trayvon Mullen and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow — were selected over the three days in Nashville.
That means Clemson has a ton of talent coming back. It also means more Tigers will hear their names called at the 2020 draft. Here are 10 players (in alphabetical order) who may be interested in next year's festivities.
Tremayne Anchrum, T (Sr., 6-2, 310)
Anchrum was a second-team All-ACC pick in 2018, but size could be an issue. At 6-foot-2, he is short for an offensive tackle. Since he's unlikely to grow any more, Anchrum has to convince scouts that he is capable of moving inside.
Travis Etienne, RB (Jr., 5-10, 215)
The Jennings, La., native checks a lot of boxes when it comes to evaluating NFL running backs. He is strong and has breakaway speed. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield and was the bell cow for the national champions last fall. If Etienne enters the draft, he should be one of the first players taken at his position.
Justin Foster, DE (Jr., 6-2, 265)
Foster has just 25 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his two years at Clemson. But with Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell now gone, Foster will have a chance to start at one of the defensive end spots. And for the most part, defensive ends in coordinator Brent Venables' system have been drafted.
Tee Higgins, WR (Jr., 6-4, 205)
Big, fast, and catches everything. Justyn Ross may have more of a role this season, which could hamper Higgins's numbers. But Trevor Lawrence will be throwing him the ball all year as well, which won't hurt. Add in the fact that Higgins is a proven big-game performer and you have a player that will generate plenty of interest.
Tanner Muse, S (Gr., 6-1, 230)
Muse is probably not quick enough to cover enough ground as a safety in the NFL and most likely can't gain enough weight to move up to linebacker. But he might just be versatile enough – especially as a special teamer – to get chosen in the late rounds.
Nyles Pinckney, DT (Jr., 6-1, 305)
When Dexter Lawrence was suspended going into the College Football Playoff, Clemson didn't miss a beat due in large part to the play of Pinckney. While he may not be a factor rushing the passer, the rugged inside presence can be very effective at stopping the run.
Amari Rodgers, WR (Jr., 5-10, 210)
A lot will have to go right for Rodgers to consider entering the draft. He tore his ACL in the spring and getting back on the field is the first priority. But when he plays, Rodgers is a weapon as a slot receiver.
Isaiah Simmons, LB/S (Jr., 6-4, 225)
The linebacker/safety hybrid toyed with the idea of turning pro after leading the champs in tackles with 88. But the athletic defender decided to return and as the leader of a re-tooled defense, Simmons could substantially enhance his draft stock.
John Simpson, G (Sr., 6-4, 330)
As a road-grading guard, Simpson probably won't be selected at the top of the draft. But big, physical linemen will always have a place in the NFL and that is exactly what Simpson is. A third-team all-league selection, the North Charleston, S.C., product will be one of many key components of what should be an electric Clemson offense.
A.J. Terrell, CB (Jr., 6-2, 190)
Corner Trayvon Mullen parlayed a defensive MVP performance in the national title game into a second-round selection. There are those, however, that believe the most consistent cornerback on the team last year was Terrell. He has nice length to go along with the athleticism needed as a lockdown cover man.
— Written by Jon Kinne, who has been part of the Athlon Contributor Network for three years, covering the ACC and Notre Dame. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.