Clemson Football: Tankersley and Watson listed as Most Impactful Rookies

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 29: Quarterback Deshaun Watson
SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 29: Quarterback Deshaun Watson /

Former Clemson football stars, Deshaun Watson and Cordrea Tankersley were recently listed as the most impactful rookies on their respective teams.

Deshaun Watson and Cordrea Tankersley each played a pivotal role in Clemson’s 2016 National title. Watson helped the Tigers average 39.2 points per game, while throwing for 41 touchdowns and 4,593 yards on the year. Tankersley led Clemson’s defense hold opponents to 18 points per game, finishing second on the team in interceptions with four.

Watson went on to be drafted by the Houston Texans with the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. The former Tiger got off to a blazing start, breaking Kurt Warner’s record for passing touchdowns by a rookie in the first seven games of his career (19). Unfortunately, Watson’s rookie season came to an abrupt end after tearing his ACL in practice.

Tankersley was drafted by the Miami Dolphins with the 97th overall pick in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft. Thus far, Tankersley has been one of the most consistent members of the Dolphins secondary, recording seven pass deflections on the season.

ESPN recently released their Week 14 NFL Power Rankings. This week, they discussed the most impactful rookie on each team. Despite missing over half of the season, Watson represented the Texans and Tankersley represented the Dolphins.

Clemson rookies

The Tigers had multiple players taken in last years NFL draft. Star wide-out, Mike Williams was expected to provide big-play ability to an aging Chargers offense. Unfortunately the top-10 pick got off to an injury riddled start and has yet to get back on track.

Even with Watson’s season ending injury, I believe he has been Clemson’s most impressive rookie this season. He appears to be on the track to stardom in the NFL. Going into next season, the only area the Texans can stand to improve is along the offensive line. Watson should have a field day next year with the bevy of firepower he has around him. With better protection upfront, this Texans offense will soar.

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Time will tell what Tankersley’s career will hold. He has all of the physical tools to develop into a Pro Bowl caliber defensive back. Unfortunately, he plays for one of the more inconsistent franchises in the NFL over the past two decades. With the impact that coaching and defensive system can have on a player, it’s too soon to judge Tankersley.