CLEMSON — Cornell Powell could have left Clemson.
Now he’s headed to the NFL as a fifth-round pick.
A former four-star recruit, he logged only 40 catches in his first four seasons of college. He could’ve used his final season of eligibility to go somewhere that assured him playing time. He opted to stay put, becoming a real difference-maker for the Tigers in 2020, finishing his final season second in receptions while landing on NFL draft boards.
Powell now has a chance to expand on his breakout season at the next level. The dynamic Clemson wide receiver was taken with the 181st overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday. With Powell’s name being called, Clemson’s seen 11 wide receivers drafted since the 2013 NFL Draft, the most of any school.
“He is a great example for so many people out there, especially in this environment we are in now,” Dabo Swinney said to the ACC Network during Pro Day. “Where if it is not going your way, you just pack up and leave. Cornell could have left. He played as a freshman. Then he got hurt. He battled through injuries, hamstring. Then we redshirted him in the middle of his career.”
Despite only one strong year of production, the Chiefs feel good about his potential to make him their latest selection. The 6-foot, 210-pound receiver can go after deep, contested passes paired with his strong body control. Powell’s speed isn’t elite and really only one-gear, but he makes up this with a good twitch at the line of scrimmage.
He could’ve packed up his bags to take his NFL dreams elsewhere, leaving the Tigers with a short wide receiver room.
But now he’s headed to Kansas city, proof of Powell’s faith in the Clemson process and the latest wideout to come out of Wide Receiver U.