Clemson, S.C.—Five former Clemson football players were selected in the National Football League Draft on Saturday, giving the program nine selections overall for the three-day event that took place in Chicago. The nine selections are the second most in one season in Clemson history and the second most in the nation this year.
Only Ohio State, with 12 draft choices, had more selections than Clemson. The only season that Clemson had more draft choices was the 1983 draft when 10 Tigers were selected. Seven of the nine players selected this year were defensive players, more than any school in the nation this year. Combined with the four selections last year, Clemson has had 11 defensive players drafted over the last two years, also the most in the nation.
The ACC had 26 players selected overall and Clemson had nine of those selections. No other league school had more than three.
B.J. Goodson (LB) was selected in the fourth round by the New York Giants and D.J. Reader was a fifth round selection of the Houston Texans. Charone Peake (New York Jets), Jayron Kearse (Minnesota Vikings) and Zac Brooks (Seattle Seahawks) were all take in the seventh round just six picks apart.
Goodson was the first Clemson player taken on Saturday, the fifth overall. He was the fourth round selection of the New York Giants, the 109th pick of the draft. Goodson is the first Clemson player drafted by the Giants since 1999 when they took O.J. Childress in the seventh round.
Goodson is the 16th Clemson drafted by the Giants, the sixth consecutive defensive player dating to 1983. Former Tiger defenders Terry Kinard, Ty Davis and Andy Headen all won Super Bowl rings with the Giants. Goodson had 160 tackles last year to lead the Clemson team. He was a second-team All-ACC selection.
Reader was a starter off and on over the last four years and had 31 tackles this year when he helped Clemson to a 14-1 record and the ACC Championship. Reader is just the second Clemson player drafted in the short history of the Texans. DeAndre Hopkins, now a Pro Bowl receiver with the Texans, was selected by the franchise in 2013 in the first round.
Peake and Brooks were the only two offensive players drafted from Clemson. Peake finished his season strong with 99 receiving yards against Alabama in the College Football National Championship game and he finished his career with 99 total receptions. Brooks was not invited to the NFL Combine last February, but he was selected in the seventh round by Seattle. He was Clemson’s third leading rusher in 2015.
Jayron Kearse was taken in the seventh round by the Vikings, giving the Minnesota franchise two new defensive backs from Clemson. It marked the second straight year an NFL franchise had taken two Clemson players who play the same position. On Friday, MacKensie Alexander was taken by the Vikings. Last year the Falcons drafted Clemson defensive linemen Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett.
Clemson Draft Note Summary
- Clemson had four players selected in the first three rounds, the most in school history. Clemson also had three picks within the first three rounds in 2011, 1991 and 1987.
- Clemson’s four selections within the first three rounds were the fourth most in the nation. Ohio State led with a record 10, Alabama had 7 and Notre Dame had six.
- With the selection of Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd, Clemson has had seven defensive ends selected in the last seven years.
*With the selection of MacKensie Alexander, T.J. Green and Jayron Kearse, Clemson has had 11 defensive backs selected in the last eight years.
- With the selection of Lawson and Dodd within the first 40 selections, it marked the first time since the 1979 draft that two Clemson players who are natives of the state of South Carolina were taken within the first 40 picks.
- Clemson had seven defensive players selected in this draft, the program has had 14 defensive players selected in he last four years, or since Brent Venables became defensive coordinator.
- Clemson had nine players drafted this year, the eighth straight year Clemson has had at least four players chosen. Clemson is the first ACC school to have at least four players chosen eight straight years since Florida State had an 10-year run from 1992-01.
- Clemson is now third among ACC schools in history in first round selections (27) and total draft choices (237).
- Dabo Swinney has six first-round selections in his eight seasons as Clemson head coach. He is just one behind Danny Ford (7) for most first-round selections under a Clemson head coach. Swinney has had 42 players drafted over his eight seasons as Clemson head coach.
Clemson Draft Summary
Shaq Lawson, Buffalo Bills, 1st Rd, Pick 19
Kevin Dodd, Tennessee Titans, 2nd Rd, Pick 33
MacKensie Alexander, Minnesota Vikings, 2nd Rd, Pick 54
T.J. Green, Indianapolis Colts, 2nd Rd, Pick 57
B.J. Goodson, New York Giants, 4th Rd, Pick 109
D.J. Reader, Houston Texans, 5th Rd, Pick 166
Charone Peake, New York Jets, 7th Rd, Pick 241
Jayron Kearse, Minnesota Vikings, 7th Rd, Pick 244
Zac Brooks, Seattle Seahawks, 7th Rd, Pick 247