Since 1939, Clemson football players have been a staple of the NFL Draft. In fact, 277 Tigers have heard their names called in the Draft.
That includes 38 first-rounders. Of that group, 17 have come during the Dabo Swinney era, which began in 2009.
This year, there could be as many as nine Clemson alums picked. That would surpass 2023's impressive total by three players.
Of course, all but one of those players check in on the defensive side of the football. That's not surprising given that the Clemson defense ranked 11th nationally last fall in yards allowed per game (as well as the up-and-down nature of the offense).
Naturally, much can change between now and late April but already we are beginning to see plenty of Draft projections now that the Senior Bowl and other showcase events are in the books. So let's try to project where this year's group of Tiger NFL hopefuls will land in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Nate Wiggins will be the next Clemson football first-round Draft pick
Elite defensive backs are always in high demand in the NFL, especially since the game now revolves around passing attacks. Thus, the question isn't if corner Nate Wiggins will be a first-round pick but rather how high in the first round he will rise.
The junior has great size at 6’2” and 185 pounds. A former 4-star recruit, he played early in his Clemson career and quickly developed into a top-flight DB.
This fall, he registered 23 tackles, 4 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions, and allowed only a 44.4 QB rating when thrown at. Now, he's ready to take his game to Sundays.
There isn't much Wiggins doesn't do well. He is physical in man coverage but smart enough to play zone.
He has enough quickness to stay with elite speed receivers and the size to match up with larger ones. What's more, he's rather polished when it comes to his footwork and technique.
There are questions about his eagerness to be a factor in stopping the run game, however. He could also use some time in an NFL strength and conditioning program to add muscle to his lanky frame.
Still, this is a sure-fire first-rounder. If he shows well at the NFL Combine or the Clemson Pro Day, he could even vault himself into the top 15 given how many teams want corners with Wiggins' skillset and physical attributes.