Former Tigers look forward to draft

The National Football league will hold its 2012 draft of college players Thursday, April 26 through Saturday, April 28. Many members of the 2011 Clemson team are candidates to be selected.

The first round will get underway at 8:00 PM on Thursday night, while the second and third rounds will be held Friday night starting at 6 PM. Rounds four through seven will be held starting at noon on Saturday.

Three members of the 2011 ACC Champion Clemson team are candidates to be taken between late in the first round and the middle to late second round. Andre Branch, Brandon Thompson and Dwayne Allen are all candidates to go within the top 50 picks of the draft. Defensive back Coty Sensabaugh and fullback Chad Diehl have also received high marks from draft evaluators and could be drafted. ESPN lists 12 Clemson players overall as draft candidates.

Branch led the ACC in sacks this past season with 10.5 and was a first-team All-ACC selection, as well as a second-team All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation, Sports Illustrated, and CBS Sports. He was also a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, which is given to the top defensive back in the nation.

Allen won the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end, just the third Clemson football player to win a national position award. He was a consensus All-American, the first Clemson tight end to make an All-America team since Bennie Cunningham in 1975.

Thompson was a second-team All-ACC selection and honorable mention All-American by Pro Football Weekly. Thompson was fourth on the Clemson team in tackles with 77, including eight tackles for loss. He was a starter on two Clemson Atlantic Division Championship teams.

Sensabaugh had 40 tackles, 36 of which were first hits. He also had an interception and a team best 14 passes defensed. ,Diehl, a durable performer from Lyman, SC, set a Clemson record for career games played with 57. He was regarded as one of the top blocking fullbacks in the nation.

Clemson has had 23 first-round draft choices over the years, including three in the last seven years. Those players are Tye Hill (2006), Gaines Adams (2007) and C.J. Spiller (2010). The highest draft selections in Clemson history were both taken fourth, Banks McFadden by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1939 and Gaines Adams in 2007 by the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Clemson had six players drafted last year and five the year before. The 11 players drafted in the last two years rank in a tie for sixth best in the nation.

Clemson has had 22 players drafted over the last five years, including five apiece in the 2007 and 2010 drafts and six in 2011. The six players taken last year were the most since six were taken in the April 1999 draft. The Clemson record for draft picks in a year is 10, in the 1983 draft.

Thirty-one of the last 35 Clemson players drafted have gone on to play in at least one NFL game. Top Stories