ATLANTA — Clemson's dominant defense lost three underclassmen to the NFL draft on Wednesday, with D-tackle Dexter Lawrence, cornerback Trayvon Mullen and former Roswell High star Tre' Lamar forgoing their senior seasons with the newly crowned national champions.
Ever since his breakout freshman campaign in 2016, Lawrence (6-foot-4, 351 pounds, lightning-quick at the point of attack) has projected well as a possible elite-level NFL contributor.
However, his PED suspension for the College Football Playoff rounds (missing out on victories over Notre Dame, Alabama) may have deflated the North Carolina native's Round 1 potential, come April.
Spanning three fruitful seasons, Lawrence amassed 10 sacks and 18 tackles for loss.
At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Mullen (four career INTs, one forced fumble) has excellent size, strength and speed, which should help him defend bigger receivers or even tight ends at the pro level.
Lamar just concluded his most productive college campaign, accounting for one interception, three sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss and 79 tackles.
Given his superior size (6-4, 250), solid quickness and excellent raw power, the #Team11 alum should be a Day 2 pick (Rounds 2/3), at worst.
The rationale: Longtime ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. currently ranks Lamar as the No. 9 prospect among inside linebackers; and Bleacher Report draft expert Matt Miller speculates that Lamar could be a late first-round selection.