In fact, quietly would be an understatement.
During his five years at Clemson, the
6-foot, 208-pound safety was seldom requested for interviews by the media
because he really never had much to say.
"If Chris doesn't know you, he isn't going to say much to you," said
former Clemson strong safety Michael Hamlin, who like his best friend is
expected to be drafted in this weekend's NFL Draft. "That's just the way
he is. He's a laid back kind of guy."
There's nothing laid back about Clemons' ability as a football player. The
Arcadia, Fla., native was one of the Tigers' best coverage players the
last two seasons, and his knack for delivering the big hit became his
He finished his Clemson career with 323 tackles, including 203 solos,
while also intercepting five passes with 20 passes broken up.
"He is an interesting player," said Chris Steuber, Scout.com's NFL Draft
Analyst. "He is a guy that is in that third- and fourth-round range."
Like his demeanor, Clemons seemed quiet as a player sometimes because he
was somewhat overshadowed by Hamlin, an All-ACC safety. While Hamlin was
making one of his 326 tackles or recording one of his 14 career
interceptions, Clemons was just doing his job, and was doing it perhaps
better than anyone that played his position in the ACC.
In fact he was one of the main reasons why the Tigers finished in the top 20 in
pass efficiency defense in each of the last four seasons.
"I had heard some good things about Chris. I know he is a good player,"
Steuber said. "His 40 time at the combine was shocking to me. He ran a
4.33 at the combine."
But will Clemons' quiet nature hurt his draft status?
"The interview process for a team is always important. Teams always want
to see what a player is all about with his leadership and the way they
talk with the coaches," Steuber said. "That's all great stuff."
But it's not the most important stuff.
Clemons' production over the last four seasons, especially the last two,
along with his speed has caught scouts' attention. They like that he has
adequate game speed to be the last line of defense.
They also like the angles he takes in pursuit as well as his ability to
breakdown quarterbacks and break towards the ball. A good open field
tackler, Clemons has the lateral quickness and enough balance to make up
ground in space to wrap up receivers and running backs.
Scouts also like the fact that he has never missed a game because of
"That's always important," Steuber said. "He probably needs to put on some
weight, but he is a good tackler. I think he lacks that explosion here and
there. But overall, I think he has good feet and is a good playmaker and I
think he will be a very good player."
The question is where is Clemons going to go in this weekend's draft?
Steuber has him as the No. 12 safety on the board and possibly going in
the third- or fourth-round. Some scouts believe he could be an early
The Browns, Raiders, Cowboys and the Saints all have a need at safety, but
Cleveland and Oakland is looking for more of a strong safety, though the
Raiders could still take Clemons if he is still available in the
The Cowboys could also be a spot for the former Clemson player. Dallas
signed former Jacksonville safety Gerald Sensabaugh so they don't have to
take a safety early in the draft, but given the lack of depth the team has
with no one behind Sensabaugh or free safety Ken Hamlin, then Clemons
would be a nice pickup for the Cowboys and could probably make an
The most logical stop for Clemons, however, is in "The Big Easy."
Orleans is shopping for a free safety after it failed to pick up
Sensabaugh. Though they signed veterans Darren Sharper and Pierson
Prioleau to one-year deals, the Saints will more than likely take Clemons
if he is available with one of their two fourth-round picks.
Whatever happens, odds are Clemons will more than likely go quietly in the
Clemons moves up draft boards
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