CLEMSON in the NFL

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. sees Ruke Orhorhoro's star rising
Ruke Orhorhoro could hear his name called on Day 2 of the NFL draft this month.

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. sees Ruke Orhorhoro's star rising


by - Correspondent -

The wait is almost over for Clemson’s NFL draft entries, including one who’s seen his star rise in the last few months.

Ruke Orhorhoro had a stellar 2023 season getting into the backfield. Orhorhoro totaled 25 tackles, including eight tackles for loss and five sacks, which was third-best on the team.

The 22-year-old has impressed scouts with his 6’4 294 pound frame, quickness, agility and power. At the NFL Combine, he posted a 4.89 40-yard dash, 1.67 10-yard split, and grand 29 bench press reps. His athleticism score ranked first out of all defensive tackles in the combine.

After the combine, ESPN NFL Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. praised Orhorhoro. In his most recent and final mock draft, Kiper lists Ruke selected as the 52nd overall pick, the fourth-best DT in the draft. In a mock trade with the Rams, the Los Angeles Chargers are projected to move up to select him.

Kiper raved about Orhorhoro's upside in this draft.

“The talent is there in abundance; (he is a) physically talented football player,” Kiper said. There is no doubt about that. Ruke showed his talent on the field by getting to the quarterback in the defensive tackle spot, something rare for tackles to show in the collegiate scene.

Kiper continued on about his skill set and work ethic.

“294 pounds, 6’4 with long arms when you run under 4.9, and you have almost 30 reps, and you are athletic as he is…the best football is ahead,” Kiper said.

Although Orhorhoro’s late development could be a scary sign for some teams, Kiper thinks differently, “Best football is ahead, he did have some production…There’s a lot to build on there…You would like to see more of that, but he might’ve touched the surface on what he can be.”

Kiper’s main criticism about Orhorhoro is the lack of production shown on the field throughout all five years. Kiper made an interesting point about Ruke’s draft stock. If he had stayed and improved, Kiper said he would’ve been “a guaranteed first-round pick.” With Kiper’s sources around the NFL, he hears, “Ruke’s name comes up a lot; I think he could be the second-best defensive tackle in the draft.”

Some other Clemson prospects worth noting are cornerback Nate Wiggins, Will Shipley and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. Kiper quickly glanced at all three prospects on where they should be expected to be drafted,

For Wiggins, Kiper has him in the first round to the Eagles. Philadelphia is thin at the cornerback position and needs a playmaker. The 22nd overall pick sees Wiggins making his way to the NFC East to help cover some of the best receivers in the NFL.

Kiper has Shipley is “in the fifth, sixth, seventh round.” A day-three pick for the junior RB from Clemson, who made explosive plays for the Tigers in both the running and receiving game.

Jeremiah Trotter Jr. has impressed some scouts, but Kiper sees the evolution of the NFL hurting his draft stock.

“Just because of how the game is played, (Trotter) could drop into the fourth round area,” Kiper said.

With the draft less than two weeks away (April 25-27 in Detroit), the time for major changes is dwindling, and these prospects are likely to go within these draft ranges.

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