Clemson football one of the top NFL factories over the past decade

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 11: Shaq Lawson
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 11: Shaq Lawson /

According to ESPN, the Clemson football program has been one of the top NFL factories in the country over the past decade. Most notably, on the defensive side of the ball.

Given the high-flying offenses the Tigers have produced under Dabo Swinney, you’d expect them to churn out their fair share of offensive playmakers.

Clemson has certainly produced high quality offensive players, however, they are lacking in quantity. Though I expect that to change in the coming years.

Defensive Draftees

It’s no surprise that the position the Tigers have produced their most NFL draft prospects along the defensive line.

Second only to LSU, Clemson has had 13 former defensive lineman drafted over the past 10 years. Among those 13 are standouts like Grady Jarrett, Vic Beasley and DJ Reader.

Surprisingly, the Tigers also rank among the most productive programs in the secondary as well. Coming in at fifth among all teams, Clemson has had 12 former defensive backs drafted over the past decade. Cordrea Tankersley, Mackensie Alexander and TJ Green are the most recent.

Venables’ Impact

Early on in Dabo Swinney’s tenure in Death Valley, defense was a major concern. I don’t think any Tigers fan will ever be able to forget giving up a whopping 70 points to West Virginia in the 2012 Orange Bowl.

Since that embarrassing lost at the hands of the Mountaineers, the Tigers have experienced a defensive rebirth. This is due in large part to the hiring of Brent Venables. The fiery defensive coordinator has turned Clemson into a defensive powerhouse.

This is important to note as he has only been in Death Valley for six seasons. Judging from the trajectory of the Tigers’ defense under Venables, they will only continue to churn out elite defensive prospects.

Next: Predicting Clemson's post-spring depth chart at RB

As of right now, you can make a legitimate argument that Clemson will have four defensive lineman selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. There’s no telling how many d-lineman the Tigers’ will have drafted over the next decade.