Clemson’s 2017 class has a few names that are being touted as potential first-round picks.
But for the Tigers to get any of them in the first round of the draft, they’ll need to put together a really strong effort, says ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is ranked as the nation’s No. 4 overall player and a first-team All-ACC selection by WalterFootball, is rated as a 4-star prospect by 247Sports and a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder by ESPN.
Watson, a dual-threat quarterback with a plus arm, is also a big-play threat.
He has 636 passing yards and 14 touchdowns on the season, as well as 19 receptions for 252 yards and four touchdowns on 40 receptions.
Watson’s ability to run and throw the football makes him a perfect fit at Clemson.
He’s also a plus athlete who can catch the ball out of the backfield.
He averaged 7.7 yards per carry in his senior season.
Clemond offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper, who had offers from Alabama, Texas A&M, Louisville, Texas, Mississippi State, Alabama, LSU, Auburn and others, is a 5-star athlete and an all-state recruit by 247 Sports and an All-American by Scout.
Cooper has a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and a 3.84 three-cone drill.
He is a strong athlete with quickness and athleticism, Kiper said.
He runs with a strong arm and good speed.
Cooper also has the ability to get to the second level and make plays.
He can be a good run blocker.
Cooper also has good hands and is a great pass protector, Kipper said.
Cooper was a three-star recruit by Rivals and Scout and the 247Sports Composite.
Cooper had offers on the rise in the SEC in the spring, including from Alabama and Auburn.
Cooper could be a candidate to go late in the draft and potentially grab one of the top prospects, Kaper said.
Offensive lineman D.J. Williams is a 4 and a half-star player by 247sports and an ESPN All-America by Scout and a three and a quarter-star by Rivals.
Williams also has offers from Tennessee, Alabama and others.
He also has been an All American in his junior season and earned an Allstate award.
He was a two-time first-Team All-SEC and second-Team selection by Scout, and an Associated Press All-South Region selection in 2016.
Williams had offers at multiple schools, including Texas A &M, Florida State, LSU and Mississippi State.
He received a commitment from LSU, Tennessee, LSU , Tennessee and Auburn last month.
He was a 3-star commit to Texas A.&M and a 4 star recruit by ESPN and Rivals.
He played at a junior college and transferred to South Carolina, where he starred as a linebacker for the Gamecocks in 2014.
He rushed for 3,734 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior.
Williams will be a major asset for Clemson in 2017.
The Tigers have some strong offensive linemen.
Tight end Austin Shepherd, a three year starter, is ranked No. 11 on 247Sports’ composite.
He had offers coming from Alabama A&M, Auburn, Louisville and South Carolina.
He will have an opportunity to compete with defensive lineman Anthony Walker, a 6’4, 315-pound athlete with a chance to go in the top five in the class, according to 247Sports.
The offensive line at Clemson will need to get better.
Clemson has a lot of good linemen and has struggled to produce pass rush over the past few years.
Clemson was ranked 24th in sacks allowed last season, and ranked 26th against the run last season.
The Tigers struggled to defend the run against Auburn last season and Florida State.
The team needs to improve its pass rush in order to get into the top 10 in the country.
Kiper said the Tigers need to make the most out of their offensive line.
The line is a strength, and Clemson has the pieces in place to put that all together.
He said the team has the right combination of talent to be a top 10 team in the ACC and to have a good season in 2017 if they can continue to improve their pass protection.
The Clemson offense will be loaded.
Clemson will run a 4,000-yard season and will have the nation of the nation number one scoring offense.
Clemson also has a chance for a national title, and they’ll be the first team to ever win the national title in their conference.
Clemson is loaded at quarterback, wide receivers, running backs, tight ends, receivers, offensive linemen and linebackers.
It’s not a top-five offense in the nation, but it’s in the mix.
The defense has the talent to make a run at the SEC title, but will need some help to do so.
Clemson lost defensive end Jourdan Lewis to graduation last