CLEMSON in the NFL

Dexter Lawrence is one of the NFL's best defenders. (Photo: Matt Krohn / USATODAY)
Dexter Lawrence is one of the NFL's best defenders. (Photo: Matt Krohn / USATODAY)

Four Tigers regarded as NFL franchise players by PFF


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Pro Football Focus outlined the Top 3 players for each NFL team, and Clemson pros made that trio for three of them.

2021 No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence was a cinch for the Jaguars, and he's joined former Clemson and third-year Jaguars teammate Travis Etienne.

"Trevor Lawrence was the highest-graded offensive player in Jacksonville last year (81.1). His deep passing was excellent, helping him rank top 10 in most categories on throws beyond 20 yards. But he also turned the ball over at a high rate," PFF's Trevor Sikkema said. "Running back Travis Etienne was consistently impactful in the first two years of his career, notching 1,000-plus yards and 0.25 missed tackles forced per carry in each season."

Another Lawrence leads the way for the New York Giants, with Dexter Lawrence performing among the league's best defenders recently.

"New York's defense was much better last year, as Dexter Lawrence earned an elite 92.9 grade with an 89.5 run-defense grade and a 92.6 pass-rush grade," Sikkema said.

Tennessee's DeAndre Hopkins rounds out the Clemson quartet picked.

"DeAndre Hopkins’ 81.7 overall grade was the highest on the offense outside of Henry," Sikkema said of Hopkins, who topped 1,000 yards in a season for the seventh time in his career in 2023 (1,057).

For the Bengals, Tee Higgins was listed among those considered, in a week that he was reported to not have signed his franchise tag contract and therefore might be ineligible for OTAs next week.

Fifth-year cornerback AJ Terrell missed the three-man cut but was listed among those considered for the Atlanta Falcons as well.

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