CLEMSON in the NFL

ESPN analyst sees Jeremiah Trotter Jr. as a
Jeremiah Trotter Jr. showed first-round talent at times last season.

ESPN analyst sees Jeremiah Trotter Jr. as a "rookie starter," set to show off skills


by - Correspondent -

Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. promises to be a valuable asset to whatever NFL team he ends up on. Given his dominance at the linebacker position and how well he performed again this season, he should be a first-round prospect.

However, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller, appearing on ACC Network this week, said that the decreased value of the linebacker position in the NFL may cause Trotter to slip to the second round, even near the end of the second round.

“I think a year ago, his name was in the mix as a potential first-round player,” Miller said. “The linebacker spot has been devalued a ton in the NFL, which is wild to me, when we had two teams in the Super Bowl whose defenses are not entirely built around their linebackers, but their linebackers are such a huge part of what they do. So maybe we’ll see a bump in terms of potential value … I think Trotter is maybe going to be a mid-to-late second-round pick.”

Miller’s assessment of when Trotter will get drafted seems to be backed up by other draft experts. NFL Mock Draft Database gives him a 25.9 percent chance of getting drafted in the first round and says he will most likely get drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 53 overall. A mock draft from CBS’s Chris Trapasso is quite similar, with Trotter going No. 54 overall to the Dallas Cowboys.

Trotter had 88 tackles this season, with 15 for loss and 5.5 sacks. He had two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown for the second season in a row. That pick-six came against Notre Dame, where Trotter completely dominated the game with 11 tackles and two sacks. The game against the Irish truly highlighted his versatility and talent before a national crowd.

“His hash-to-hash range is really, really good,” Miller said. “His ability to diagnose is great. He’s just a little bit old school in terms of build - it’s more strength than it is speed.”

With that said from Miller, Trotter is a bit on the lighter side. Compared to Clemson alum, linebacker Trenton Simpson, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2023 NFL Draft, Trotter is one inch shorter but nearly 30 pounds lighter. Simpson ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. If Trotter wants to show NFL teams he has both strength and speed, he should have a similar performance at the Combine on February 29 (3 p.m./NFL Network). Still, speed is not essential for a successful NFL linebacker.

“Going back to the Super Bowl, Nick Bolton for the Chiefs is a lot like that as well. People said he was too slow coming out of college or he was too short coming out of college,” Miller said. “Now he’s the captain at linebacker for a back-to-back Super Bowl championship team.”

For comparison, Bolton was drafted in the second round at No. 58 overall. He is two inches shorter than Trotter and ran a 4.60 40-yard dash and 4.50 on the 20-yard shuttle at the NFL Combine back in 2021.

No matter where Trotter goes and when he gets drafted, Miller is confident that whoever drafts him will get “somebody who’s going to be a rookie starter and really a core player for a defense.”

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