Clemson's 2014 draft candidates

After taking an early look at Clemson's 2013 draft candidates, we'll take an even earlier peek at the 2014 draft candidates on the Tigers' roster.

Of the five prospects we've listed below, three would be seniors during the 2013 season, so we're assuming they'll stick around for that final year of eligibility. The other two emerged as impact freshmen in 2011, and we're assuming they'll be ready to turn pro after their junior seasons in 2013.

In our previous piece, we projected DeAndre Hopkins as an early entry in the 2013 draft, so his name won't appear on the 2014 candidate list.

LB Stephone Anthony, Jr.
Even after one season at Clemson, Anthony is good enough to project as a potential draft candidate in 2014. Though Anthony has played only 292 snaps at the college level, he has enough upside to project as a draft candidate when he's eligible in two years.

Listed at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Anthony is has the frame to grow into the body of a professional linebacker. He also possesses the speed, skill and smarts to play in the NFL.

As a freshman, Anthony had 29 tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks and a pass breakup.

He played the middle linebacker position last season, but mostly in nickel situations. This spring, under first-year defensive coordinator Brent Venables, Anthony worked with the first-team at middle linebacker, in all packages.


Tajh Boyd threw three touchdown passes during the ACC title game.
QB Tajh Boyd, RS Sr.
Boyd's first season as a starting quarterback at the college level was a successful one. He was named first-team All-ACC, the first Clemson quarterback since 1957. He also led the conference in total offense and passing yards and was named MVP of the ACC title game.

With 14 starts under his belt, there is no doubt that Boyd made the right choice to return for his redshirt junior season in 2012. Like many other college quarterbacks at this point in his career, Boyd has a few things he'll need to improve upon before turning pro: decision making and pocket presence/awareness are the main areas he could stand to improve.

Assuming that he puts in the time and effort to improve on pocket presence/awareness and decision making -- and we feel that's a pretty safe assumption -- Boyd could up his draft stock if he continues to put up good numbers.

Given his size [6-0, 6-1], it's possible that there could be some limitations to Boyd's future in the NFL Draft. For now, he projects as a mid to late-round draft pick.

CB Darius Robinson, Sr.
Of Clemson's class of 2010 defensive back signees, Robinson has played the most. Now listed as a starting cornerback, Robinson has 419 career snaps, 20 tackles and two interceptions during his two-year career. And he should easily surpass that snap total this season.

Robinson faces wide receivers with NFL potential every day during practice. When that is taken into consideration, one could assume that Robinson and the rest of the Clemson secondary benefits from the competition.

OG Tyler Shatley, RS Sr.
Is it a bit of a stretch to talk about Shatley's NFL future as an offensive guard when he hasn't even played a down at the position?

Yes, probably.

Shatley's one of the toughest, nastiest members of the Clemson football team. He was moved from defensive tackle to bring that over to the Tigers' offensive line. A year from now it may not be so far-fetched to discuss Shatley as a professional offensive lineman.


Sammy Watkins set several Clemson receiving records during his freshman season.
WR Sammy Watkins, Jr.
Depending on whom you asked, some folks thought Watkins would have been the first wide receiver off the board if he was eligible to enter the 2012 draft. Based on his freshman year production and raw talent, he would have been a shoe-in for the first-round.

Due to last week's arrest, there will be a red flag by Watkins' name when he is eligible to enter the 2014 draft. As long as he stays out of trouble between now and then, it's highly unlikely that Watkins will fall out of the first-round.

As a freshman, Watkins caught 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also rushed for 231 yards and had 826 kickoff return yards.

Also considered: OL Brandon Thomas, RS Sr., WR Martavis Bryant, Jr., DE Corey Crawford, Jr., Bashaud Breeland, RS Jr., LB Quandon Christian, RS Sr.

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