Three Tigers in Mel Kiper's NFL Mock Draft 2.0


by - Assoc. Editor -
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ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has released his 2016 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 on Thursday morning, and three Clemson defenders were listed in the first round.

Defensive end Shaq Lawson was projected to the Atlanta Falcons at the #17th selection.

"While Vic Beasley flashed potential as a rookie, he wasn't a force consistently, and the Falcons can't go wrong adding more to the pass rush," Kiper said. "Lawson is well-coached and has more size to stay on the field and hold up as a three-down defender in either a 3-4 or 4-3 look, thanks to a versatile skill set."

Lawson finished the season with 86 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss (led the nation), 12.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hurries.

He would be teammates with several former Clemson players including Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett and Malliciah Goodman.

Defensive end Kevin Dodd with his impressive three-sack performance in the National Championship game was predicted to be taken by the Buffalo Bills at pick number #19.

"Mario Williams is on the way out, and the difference between Buffalo being a playoff team or an also-ran is going to come from their ability to make major strides on the defensive side of the ball," Kiper said. "Rex Ryan will get an NFL-ready defender who won't just make plays in the backfield as a pass-rusher, but also has the strength to defend the run and instincts to find the ball."

Dodd had a breakout 2015 season with 62 tackles, 12 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss (second in the nation behind Lawson).

Defensive back Mackensie Alexander was projected to go to the Carolina Panthers at the #30th selection.

"The Panthers were creative with their personnel at cornerback this past season; they reached the Super Bowl even with a number of injuries diminishing the secondary," Kiper said. "Alexander needs coaching but, like Josh Norman, is a ferocious competitor with the potential for greatness. Repeat after me: Great teams can't have enough good cornerbacks."

The Tigers with Alexander were the number two defense in the country in passes completed holding opponents to 47.6 completion percentage. In 638 snaps this season, QBs completed only 11 passes vs. Alexander and he also had 23 tackles and two tackles for loss.

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