Clemson football: Which Tiger rookie has the best shot at Rookie of the Year?


The 2019 Clemson football program had seven players drafted in the 2020 NFL draft. Will, any of them be considered for rookie of the year?

If you are unfamiliar, the Associated Press (AP) hands out both an offensive player of the year and defensive players of the year, and Clemson football has never had a winner from either category.

From the offensive side, no offensive linemen have ever won the award, so John Simpson and Tremayne Anchrum realistically have no shot, but Tee Higgins will. Only nine receivers have ever won the award, which started in 1967. The last receiver to do so was Odell Beckham 2014 when he was with the New York Giants.

However, there is one person that will keep Tee Higgins from winning the award – his own quarterback, Joe Burrow. Should Higgins put up a monster year as Beckham did in 2014 that likely means that Burrow did as well and we all know that quarterbacks get the shine in the NFL.

However, looking at the defensive side of the ball is where Clemson football will have two candidates and both should finish in the Top 10 in voting.

Of course, we are talking about Isaiah Simmons who was taken eighth by the Cardinals and A.J. Terrell, who was taken by the Atlanta Falcons at 16th overall. Both rookies are going to be heavily targeted and will have opportunities to show that they are the best in the NFL.

When you look at the divisions that both play in, they are surrounded by high profile quarterbacks in offenses that love to throw the ball.

In the NFC West, Simmons will face Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garapoulo, and the Rams twice each. While Jared Goff isn’t prolific, the offense that he runs with Sean McVay is, and they will attempt to go right at Simmons is matchups that they all believe favor their situation.

Isaiah Simmons is a matchup nightmare for opposing coaches because he is big and strong enough to lock down tight ends and he is fast and smart enough to cover running backs out of the backfield. Simmons will get plenty of chances to show how elite he is.

The other is A.J. Terrell. In Atlanta, he is going to get thrown in the fire from Day 1. They did not draft him to sit on the bench and as it turns out, other teams in the division wanted him too.

Terrell will have it even worse than Simmons in the NFC South. He will have to face Tom Brady twice, Drew Brees twice, and Teddy Bridgewater twice. On top of that, he will have the pleasure of covering Michael Thomas and Mike Evans, two of the best receivers in the game.

The good news for A.J. Terrell, is he will face Matt Ryan and Julio Jones every day in practice and those are two of the best to ever play and if they cannot get him ready to face the other teams in the division, no one can.

Next. Trevor Lawrence is in a realm of his own. dark

There is no doubt that both players will have a chance to make a name for themselves as rookies because of the divisions that they play in. When it is all said and done come January 2021, Isaiah Simmons will end of the 2020 AP defensive rookie of the year and will represent Clemson football well at the next level.