Clemson's "D" shows out on Pro Day, especially DeShawn Williams

by - Senior Writer -
Bill Belichick was on hand to check out Clemson's talent Thursday
Bill Belichick was on hand to check out Clemson's talent Thursday

CLEMSON – Thursday was a day for Clemson to show off its indoor practice facility and ability to turn out NFL-caliber players as head coaches, general managers and scouts from all the NFL teams gathered to watch Clemson’s draft-eligible players work out. Some players showed out more than others.

One of those whose draft stock jumped during the three-hour session was defensive tackle DeShawn WilliamsDeShawn Williams
Defensive Tackle (2011 - 2014)
#99 6-1, 292
Central, SC

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, whose 4.96-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot, 303 pounds caught the attention of several scouts. One person notably interested was New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who was joined by Patriots’ assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi.

Belichick watched Williams’ foot drills with interest, dropping to one knee to watch Williams, and Williams said he hopes he made an impression.

“I think it was a good day for me, a guy coming out of the shadows,” Williams told TigerNet. “I didn’t get talked about too much this season, but I think I’ve shown what I can do and I think I kind of separated myself. There are a lot of teams showing me some love, and I hope that performance today increased that.”

Williams then said he noticed Belichick’s attention.

“Yeah, I saw him give me a look during the foot drills,” Williams said with a smile. “He was like, ‘Who is this guy?’ But I got his attention, and that is a good thing. But whoever picks me is going to get a hard-working guy. I am not a guy that will be showboating but I will get the job done.”

Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said the amount of NFL scouts and execs on hand shows the respect the Clemson program gets from the league, but he said he also knows why the scouts showed up in droves.

“That’s why right there, six D-linemen standing there,” Swinney said he told Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly. “You know where they’ve come from and how they’ve matured and developed into what they were this past year. We’re really happy for them. They all look great and they’re all going to get an opportunity.”

Clemson’s former players got the chance to showcase their abilities in front of 69 scouts from all 32 NFL teams. Three pro coaches — Kelly, New England’s Bill Belichick and Buffalo’s Rex Ryan — as well as three general managers and three CFL scouts made up the largest group to ever attend a Clemson Pro Day.

“Since I’ve been the head coach I think we’re eighth in the country in draft picks so they know you got good players,” Swinney said. “I’ve had 55 guys since I’ve been the head coach get either drafted or signed as a free agent and 44 made the roster. Our guys are sticking in that league and one of the reasons is because of the culture they are coming from.”

The headliner was defensive end-turned-linebacker Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
Defensive End (2010 - 2014)
#3 6-2, 236
Adairsville, GA

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, who ran a few drills but opted out of the 40-yard dash and bench press, events he excelled in during the NFL Combine late last month.

“I came out here with the right mindset and I just wanted to show that I can play in space and drop back as a linebacker,” Beasley said. “I didn’t think I got to showcase that as much as I wanted to at the combine and I think they wanted to see more of me dropping in space and I feel like I elevated my level as a linebacker.”

Linebacker Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
Linebacker (2011 - 2014)
#42 6-2, 244
Polkton, NC

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said he hopes his Combine scores and Thursday’s Pro Day translate into a first round selection.

“I feel like I did some good things,” Anthony said. “There’s always room for improvement. I’m gonna always be hard on myself but definitely was prepared for today and I think I did a good job and the rest my guys did too.”

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