Three Tigers listed in Top 35 of NFL.com's prospect rankings


by - Assoc. Editor -
Simmons was Clemson's first ever Butkus Award winner
Simmons was Clemson's first ever Butkus Award winner

It's almost time for a new crop of NFL rookies.

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has updated his top 50 NFL draft-eligible prospects, and three Clemson players were listed.

Linebacker hybrid Isaiah Simmons was ranked No. 6 overall (down two spots from previous NFL.com ranking) and still the top linebacker on the board.

"Simmons is an extremely versatile, athletic defensive chess piece," Jeremiah wrote. "He is a long, rangy athlete who lined up at linebacker, over the slot and in the deep middle for Clemson, thanks to his diverse and unique skill set. Against the pass, he has terrific range and instincts from the deep middle. He has the speed and agility to match up with top-flight tight ends and backs underneath. He is an explosive blitzer off the edge and in through the middle. Simmons overpowers running backs in protection. Against the run, he takes good angles, and his speed allows him to make plays from the backside. He will struggle at times if he has to take on blocks on the edge. Overall, Simmons is built for today's NFL, and his role could change week to week, depending on the opponent."

Simmons had 107 tackles, eight sacks, three interceptions, and 16 tackles for loss last season.

Next up was receiver Tee Higgins at No. 30 overall (down one spot).

"Higgins is a tall, long and rangy wideout with elite high-point skills," Jeremiah said. "He uses a quick foot fire to defeat press coverage. He is a smooth, long-striding route runner. He is at his best when on the move: slants, posts, and go routes. He lacks snap at the top of his route when working back downhill. He has incredible ball skills down the field. He can elevate and also adjust to the back-shoulder ball. After the catch, he is very smooth and slippery. Overall, Higgins isn't going to do a lot of the dirty work in the middle of the field, but he's very effective on the outside and provides big-play ability."

In 2019, Higgins had 59 receptions for 1,167 yards (19.8 YPC) and 13 touchdowns.

Higgins has recently met with several teams for informal interviews including the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots.

Cornerback A.J. Terrell was ranked No. 35 overall (down three spots).

"Terrell is a tall, slender cornerback prospect with a strong resume in a variety of coverages and techniques," Jeremiah wrote. "In press coverage, he uses an effective one-hand jam before turning and opening up. He can carry vertical routes with his speed, but he is a little bit sticky when he's forced to gear down and come back downhill. In off coverage, he has a quick pedal, but there is a brief pause in his plant/drive. He has very good ball awareness down the field. He is a reliable tackler and an outstanding blitzer from the boundary corner spot. He had a rough outing against LSU in the national title game but was otherwise very steady this fall. Overall, Terrell has some tightness, but he's a very solid player who should emerge as a quality No. 2 cornerback for his drafting team."

Terrell had 34 tackles, including two interceptions and three pass breakups.

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