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Clemson Football

What’s next for Clemson draft hopefuls after Pro Day

March 16, 2024

Ten Tigers competed in the program's annual pro day in front of representatives from all 32 NFL teams. Here's what is next for Clemson's 2024 NFL Draft hopefuls.

Most talented: Nate Wiggins. The speedy cornerback pushed his draft stock up to the projected No. 14 overall pick (PFF) after running a 4.28-second 40 at the NFL combine. Wiggins began trending sharply upward after the season due to his strong tape against top receivers like Keon Coleman (FSU), Xavier Legette (SC), and Tez Walker (UNC) during the 2023 season.

He left the combine due to injury. While he did not run a 40-yard dash again at Clemson Pro Day, Wiggins did go through position drills to showcase his fluid hips, hands, and ball skills. Wiggins weighed 182 lbs at Pro Day, up nine pounds from the combine. He cemented his Top-15 draft status in front of the scouts in Clemson. 

Wiggins nailed his pre-draft workouts and could become the highest-drafted Clemson defensive back since Tye Hill in 2006 (No. 15 overall).

Most underrated: Ruke Orhorhoro‍. After running a 4.89-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine (fourth-fastest among defensive tackles), Orhorhoro's stock jumped into the second round. He ran the three-cone (7.40 seconds) and shuttle drill (4.67 seconds) at Pro Day and posted times that would have been second and fourth at his position in the combine, respectively. 

A draft evaluator at Clemson Pro Day told me that teams are impressed that Orhorhoro's athleticism allows him to play both interior and exterior defensive line positions at a high level. However, most see him fitting in the league as a defensive tackle. 

At the end of the season, he was profiled as a Day 3 draft pick. He's a likely second-rounder after improving his stock during draft evaluation events.

Biggest winners: 

Xavier Thomas‍: He made headlines for running a 4.56 40-yard dash at Pro Day but said afterward that he can do better. Thomas claims that he ran a 4.49 recently. After a strong performance at the East-West Shrine Bowl and Clemson Pro Day, Thomas has improved his stock to early Day 3.

His speed off the edge is tantalizing for NFL teams. He is a good value pick in this year's draft, and the former five-star still has some untapped potential. I think he will put up better numbers in the NFL than in college.

Will Shipley‍: A 4.39 40-yard dash time made Shipley the top story and biggest winner at Pro Day. It even earned the attention of Steelers GM Omar Khan toward the end of the event. While Shipley had an up-and-down 2023 season, he now projects as a high Day 3 draft pick (early fourth round). I believe he's jumped up from a fifth-round projection to the mid-fourth-round after a strong showing at Pro Day.

Other notables: 

Jeremiah Trotter Jr.‍ did not work out at Pro Day due to a hamstring injury. Trotter's tape alone places him among the top five linebackers in this draft class. Even though he didn't work out at Pro Day, Trotter is firmly positioned to be a Top-100 draft pick. He will run a 40-yard dash on April 9. 

I expect he will be a third-round pick, the same round his father was selected in during the 1998 draft.

Tyler Davis‍: His Pro Day and combine testing numbers do not jump off the page, but he's a strong run-stopper who projects as a decent mid-round draft pick. His stock has dropped during draft evaluation season, and he's trending toward the fifth round.

The likely UDFAs who participated in Pro Day were Will Putnam‍, Jalyn Phillips‍, Sheridan Jones‍, and Justin Mascoll‍. 

Next up: Here are my "way too early" 2025 Draft projections for Clemson players with NFL potential: 

- Barrett Carter‍ (senior linebacker): Second round.

- Jake Briningstool‍ (senior tight end): Fifth round.

- Phil Mafah‍ (senior running back): Fifth round.

- Tristan Leigh‍ (redshirt junior OL): Late day three, sixth - seventh round.

- Dark horses: The junior duo of Cade Klubnik‍ (QB) and Antonio Williams (WR) could leave early for the draft if they dominate in the fall.

- Former Tigers Andrew Mukuba‍ and Beaux Collins‍, who recently transferred to Texas and Notre Dame, respectively, could be among the top 250 NFL draft prospects at this time next year.

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