CLEMSON in the NFL

Will Shipley is picked to join Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and Tyler Shatley in Jacksonville by one ESPN draft projection.
Will Shipley is picked to join Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and Tyler Shatley in Jacksonville by one ESPN draft projection.

Clemson prospects in final Mel Kiper rankings, seven-round ESPN NFL draft projection


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NFL draft week is upon us, and the wait is almost over for Clemson football's pro prospects.

Longtime ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his final rankings on Tuesday, and he has two Tigers in the Top 50.

That's led by projected first-round pick on Thursday, All-ACC cornerback Nate Wiggins, at No. 25.

"He has the length and recovery speed to match up effectively with any wideout he goes up against. Wiggins shows a smooth turning motion, good instincts in coverage and can make up ground in a hurry while using his height and arm length as a major advantage," Kiper said.

Next up is a prospect Kiper has called one of his favorites of the draft, with Ruke Orhorhoro at No. 45 overall.

Just outside the Top 100 is All-American linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (108).

In positional rankings, Orhorhoro is the No. 3 DT, Wiggins is the No. 4 CB, Trotter is the No. 5 off-ball LB, Xavier Thomas is the No. 9 DE, Will Shipley is the No. 13 RB and Tyler Davis is the No. 17 DT.

ESPN colleague Jordan Reid did a seven-round mock draft this week and named all six there. Wiggins leads off at No. 23 to Arizona.

"After securing Marvin Harrison Jr. at No. 4, the Cardinals can get aggressive to address their cornerback situation. Wiggins' technique and reactive quickness are among the best in this class, and with his unique speed and suddenness, he can turn and run with anyone. Some teams might be concerned with his 173-pound frame, but there is no denying Wiggins' talent. The Cardinals can start him right away opposite Sean Murphy-Bunting. None of their cornerbacks had more than one interception in 2023, so this unit has to improve at the draft," Reid said.

Reid says Arizona could also swoop up Orhorhoro in the second round (No. 66).

"Arizona might look to add more strength along the interior, and Orhorhoro is the best run-defending defensive lineman in this class," Reid said.

Reid projects Davis to Las Vegas (No. 148), Shipley joining Clemson's trio in Jacksonville (No. 153) and Trotter to Baltimore (No. 165) in Round 5. Thomas is one of the more disagreed-upon prospects in draft range, and ESPN is on the lower end here with a Round 6 pick to Minnesota (No. 177).

The draft gets underway Thursday night in Detroit and runs through Saturday. It airs on ESPN, ABC and NFL Network with an 8 p.m. start Thursday, 7 p.m. start Friday and noon start Saturday (all times EDT).

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