Andrew-Booth-Clemson-Tigers-Football
If Andrew Booth Jr. can continue to make highlight-worthy plays, he could hear his name called next spring. (Clemson Football/Twitter)

Clemson Football

Three Tigers who could be first-round NFL Draft picks next year

CLEMSON — Clemson saw its first No. 1 overall pick selected in last weekend’s NFL Draft.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Trevor Lawrence with the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The former Clemson quarterback is the winningest quarterback in school history, and now he’s off to Jacksonville to help turnaround the Jaguars. He’ll be joined by Travis Etienne, who joined Lawrence in the first round with the 25th overall pick.

“A great moment for Clemson as well,” Dabo Swinney said after Lawrence was drafted. “There’s been a lot of things that have happened at Clemson over the years, but this is one of them that has never happened. He’s leaving here as the winningest quarterback, led us to a 15-0 season, now the first No. 1 pick in the history of our school. It’s a great moment for everyone.”

Having two players selected in the opening round of the draft is evidence of the talent Clemson has on its roster. So who has a chance to be selected in the first round of next year’s NFL draft? ClemsonSports.com is starting the 2022 pre-draft process early with three Tigers candidates for next spring.

Justyn-Ross-Clemson-Football

Justyn Ross led the Tigers in receiving yards as a freshman in 2018. (John Byrum/Getty Images)

Justyn Ross

The wide receiver missed the entire 2020 season with a spine injury and is still waiting for the all-clear on returning to full-contact play. But before the injury popped up in the spring of 2019, many considered Ross to be a first-round prospect whenever he chose to declare for the NFL Draft. If Ross gets the go-ahead from his doctor in June to fully return, that’s great news for both him and Clemson. A full summer of practice paired with a strong fall could show he’s fully healthy and ready to be an elite wide receiver at the next level.

Andrew Booth Jr.

Booth is just a walking highlight reel at this point. The cornerback had a one-handed interception against Virginia in 2020. A week later, he had a spectacular pass break up against Miami. And this spring, he made a a one-handed interception in the annual Orange vs. White spring game. The pick was called off, but it should’ve counted. Booth could be the star of Clemson’s secondary this fall if he can get a little more consistent. If Booth can prove to be a lockdown corner and add a few more eye-catching interceptions, he could hear his name called very early next spring.

Tyler-Davis-Clemson-Tigers-Football

Tyler Davis could be a 2022 first-round pick. (Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

Tyler Davis

An All-ACC second-team selection as a freshman, Davis became the first true freshman defensive tackle to start a season opener for Clemson since Jeff Mills in 1974. He battled through injuries this past season but still finished with five tackles for loss in seven games. If the 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive tackle can stay healthy this fall, he’s fully capable of putting together an All-American campaign. Clemson will arguably have one of the best defensive lines in the country in 2021, and Davis could be the center of the attention. The NFL Draft was pretty offense heavy this past weekend for Clemson, meaning 2022 could be trending towards the defensive side. Davis has all the intangibles teams want a the next level, and he could put himself into the first-round conversation if he can get in the backfield often in his junior season.

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