CLEMSON in the NFL

Trenton Simpson looks to breakout in a bigger role this season. (Photo: Geoff Burke / USATODAY)
Trenton Simpson looks to breakout in a bigger role this season. (Photo: Geoff Burke / USATODAY)

Clemson pro Trenton Simpson named to NFL All-Breakout Team


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It's the time to shine for a couple of Clemson pros.

On one side of the ball, Pro Football Focus named second-year Baltimore Ravens linebacker Trenton Simpson to its 2024 All-Breakout Team.

"Simpson steps into the role vacated by Patrick Queen next to Roquan Smith in the Ravens' defense, and they will hope his Week 18 performance carries over into his first season as a starter. On 26 snaps against the Pittsburgh Steelers that week, 21 of which came against the run, he registered three tackles resulting in a defensive stop," PFF's Gordon McGuinness.

The former 5-star prospect and Butkus Award semifinalist was picked in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft.

He tallied 77 tackles (4 for loss) with 2.5 sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles over 12 games as a junior, adding to his final tally of 187 tackles (22.5 for loss), 12.5 sacks, six pass breakups and three forced fumbles in 1,443 snaps over 37 games (27 starts) as a Tiger from 2020-22.

Simpson was joined from Clemson by first-round cornerback draft pick Nate Wiggins this April.

On the other side of the ball, CBS Sports pegged receiver and return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud as an under-the-radar player who can star for his new team, the Atlanta Falcons.

"In a restocked wide receiver room, the former Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers reserve may not be a primary target for new quarterback Kirk Cousins, but his extensive experience as a return specialist could make him invaluable with the NFL's revamped kick-return rules," CBS' Cody Benjamin said.

McCloud signed a deal with Atlanta worth up to $6 million over two years.

He garnered All-Pro honors in his time at Pittsburgh and PFF team of the week honors during last year's playoffs with San Francisco. McCloud has logged a career 9.6 yards per punt return and totaled two touchdowns as a pro (one rushing, one receiving).

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