Four Tigers in Kiper's 2019 NFL Mock Draft, none in Top 15

by - Assoc. Editor -
Ferrell projected to be the first Tiger chosen in 2019 NFL Draft
Ferrell projected to be the first Tiger chosen in 2019 NFL Draft

ESPN's draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his 2019 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 Monday with four talented Clemson defenders listed in the first round.

However, none were projected in the Top 15 picks in the mock draft and then a run started on Clemson players on the defensive line.

Pass rusher Clelin Ferrell was projected to the Carolina Panthers at pick No. 16 overall.

"This is all about filling a need, as Julius Peppers retired and there's no surefire replacement on the roster, Kiper said. "Ferrell (6-5, 265) is a classic 4-3 defensive end who can get after quarterbacks -- he had 21 sacks over the past two seasons -- and hold his own in the run game. The Carolina defense collapsed last season, and it could also look at safety (Mike Adams turns 38 this offseason) and linebacker (Thomas Davis is moving on) here."

Ferrell had 54 tackles including 19.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, seven quarterback hurries, and three forced fumbles in 2018.

Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence was predicted No. 17 overall to the Cleveland Browns.

"I had Mississippi State's Jeffery Simmons here in my first Mock Draft, but he tore his ACL and could drop to Day 2," Kiper said. "The massive 6-foot-5, 340-pound Lawrence is a different kind of player -- he's not as good of a pass-rusher as Simmons -- but he'd fit next to Larry Ogunjobi, who has come into his own. I've been told to expect Lawrence to work out well at the combine, too. GM John Dorsey could also try to get a weapon for Baker Mayfield here."

Lawrence had 37 tackles including 7.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks this past season.

Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was projected to the Tennessee Titans at pick No. 19.

"Tennessee got very little last season from free-agent addition Bennie Logan, and the defense could upgrade on either side of elite nose tackle Jurrell Casey in its 3-4. Wilkins (6-4, 312) could play tackle in a 4-3 or end in a 3-4," Kiper said. "The Titans will likely keep a close eye on edge-rushing outside linebackers here, but the value with Wilkins on my board is too good to pass up."

Wilkins registered 50 tackles including 15 tackles for loss, six sacks, and two fumble recoveries in 2018.

Cornerback Trayvon Mullen was predicted to the Philadelphia Eagles at pick No. 25.

"Injuries in the secondary really hurt the Eagles in 2018, as the defense couldn't match the play that led them to a Super Bowl LII victory," Kiper said. "And with Ronald Darby possibly leaving in free agency, cornerback is a spot to target here or with one of their two second-round picks. Mullen had an inconsistent 2018 season, but he has some excellent 2017 tape. And at 6-foot-2, 186 pounds, he's a big corner. He should test well in Indianapolis."

Mullen had 36 tackles including four tackles for loss, two sacks, three pass breakups, and an interception last season.

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