Three defensive stars from the state of South Carolina last football season…Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, USC tackle Javon Kinlaw and Clemson cornerback AJ Terrell…were projected going into Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft as first round picks. That proved to be true as they were taken within the first 16 picks. Simmons was first off the board going 8th to the Cardinals. Kinlaw lasted six more picks going 14th to the 49ers. And Terrell was two picks later at #16 by the Falcons.
Notes on Simmons from Clemson Sports Communications:
- Became the 58th player to have played for Head Coach Dabo Swinney to be drafted into the NFL, including the 12th first-round pick of Swinney’s tenure.
- Represents Clemson’s 33rd first-round pick in the NFL Draft all-time, dating to Banks McFadden’s selection by the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers with the fourth overall pick in the 1940 NFL Draft.
- Became the 15th Clemson player selected by the Cardinals all-time, the third-most of any franchise. He is the Cardinals’ first selection from Clemson since running back Andre Ellington in the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Simmons’ selection by the Cardinals at No. 8 gave Clemson a selection in the first 10 picks in back-to-back drafts for the third time in program history after Clelin Ferrell was selected with the No. 4 overall pick a year ago. Clemson has previously produced Top 10 selections in consecutive drafts in 1982 (Jeff Bryant) and 1983 (Terry Kinard) and 2014 (Sammy Watkins) and 2015 (Vic Beasley).
- Surpasses Harold Olson (No. 13 overall in 1960) as the highest pick from Clemson in Cardinals history. Simmons became the first first-round pick from Clemson in Cardinals history, as the 1960 NFL Draft featuring Olson only included 12 teams.
- Joined Vic Beasley (2015) as the only No. 8 overall selections in Clemson history. Simmons is now tied with Beasley for the ninth-highest selection in Clemson.
- Became Clemson’s 12th Top 10 pick all-time and, including the No. 4 overall pick of Clelin Ferrell last year, gave Clemson back-to-back drafts with a Top 10 selection for the third time in Clemson history (1982-83 with Jeff Bryant and Terry Kinard; Sammy Watkins and Vic Beasley in 2014-15).
- Became the first Clemson linebacker selected in the first round since Stephone Anthony in 2015 (No. 31 by the New Orleans Saints). Coincidentally, now three of Clemson’s four linebackers (excluding edge-rusher DE/LB hybrids like Vic Beasley) selected in the first round all-time have had the surname Simmons, including Wayne Simmons in 1993 and Anthony Simmons in 1998.
- His selection marks the third straight draft in which a defensive player was the first Clemson player selected. The last offensive player to be the first Clemson player selected in a draft was wide receiver Mike Williams (No. 7 overall in 2017).
- Prior to Simmons’ selection Thursday, the most recent Clemson linebacker selected was Dorian O’Daniel in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. O’Daniel was one of three Clemson players on Kansas City’s 46-man active roster in Super Bowl LIV this past February.
- Selected by a coaching staff that includes Arizona Defensive Line Coach Brentson Buckner, a Clemson Athletic Hall of Famer who was an All-ACC selection in both 1992 and 1993. A year ago, Buckner was on the Raiders’ staff that selected Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.
- Will play home games at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., the site of Clemson’s 29-23 victory against Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl in which Simmons recorded an interception.
More on Kinlaw from USC Sports Communications:
Kinlaw became the Gamecocks’ 14th first-round NFL draft pick and the ninth since 2000…with Kinlaw’s selection, the Gamecocks have produced a selection in 18 of the last 19 NFL Drafts…Kinlaw becomes the 16th first-round selection coached by Carolina head coach Will Muschamp…Named Associated Press first-team All-America, second-team All-America by USA TODAY, was a first-team All-SEC selection by the Southeastern Conference coaches, and was a second-team All-SEC selection by the AP… also was a second-team All-SEC selection and a third-team All-American, according to Pro Football Focus… became the 25th first-team All-American in South Carolina football history… selected to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl… invited to the NFL Combine… named as one of six Dr. Harris Pastides Outstanding Student-Athlete Award winners… selected by his teammates as the winner of the MVP of the defense (Joe Morrison Award), the Most Productive Player on defense, the Unselfish Teammate Award for defense and the Tenacity Award for defense… selected as one of five permanent team captains… notched 35 tackles and 6.0 sacks, tying for eighth in the SEC… added four quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one blocked kick.
Notes on Terrell from Clemson Athletics Communications:
- Became the 59th player to have played for Head Coach Dabo Swinney to be drafted into the NFL, including the 13th first-round pick of Swinney’s tenure.
- Represents Clemson’s 34th first-round pick in NFL Draft history.
- Represents the third-highest selection among cornerbacks in Clemson history, trailing Donnell Woolford’s No. 11 overall selection by the Chicago Bears in 1989 and Tye Hill’s No. 15 overall selection in 2006.
- Became the 14th defensive back selected in the Swinney era dating to the 2009 NFL Draft.
- Terrell became the third-highest cornerback selected in Clemson history, trailing only selections by Donnell Woolford (No. 11 by Chicago in 1989) and Tye Hill (No. 15 by St. Louis in 2006). Terrell, an Atlanta native, becomes the first Clemson player drafted by his home-state team since 2015, when the Falcons took Georgia natives Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett on Day 1 and Day 3 of the draft, respectively.
- Was Clemson’s second No. 16 overall selection all-time, joining DT Chester McGlockton’s 1992 selection by the Los Angeles Raiders.
- Became the eighth Clemson player selected by the Falcons all-time, joining DB Rod McSwain (1984), CB Reggie Pleasant (1985), RB Kenny Flowers (1987), DE Malliciah Goodman (2013), DE Vic Beasley (2015) and DT Grady Jarrett (2015), as well as the 1966 Supplemental Draft selection of LB Randy Smith.
- Was selected by his hometown Atlanta Falcons, becoming the first Clemson player selected to play for his home-state team since the Falcons selected Georgia natives Vic Beasley (Day 1) and Grady Jarrett (Day 3) in 2015.