South Carolina Football: Who Is Replacing Gamecocks Taken in 2014 NFL Draft
The South Carolina Gamecocks didn't see as many players go in the 2014 NFL draft as anticipated, but they were home to the No. 1 overall pick in Jadeveon Clowney.
Original expectations had as many as five or six former Gamecocks being drafted. However, only Clowney and wide receiver Bruce Ellington heard their names called at the draft.
South Carolina did have a handful of players sign as undrafted free agents, and they will all try to make rosters in the NFL this fall.
The Gamecocks do not have too many players to replace, which is a positive. With that being said, replacing Clowney and Ellington as well as former standout quarterback Connor Shaw will not be easy.
Here are the Gamecocks who will be replacing former South Carolina players taken in the 2014 NFL draft.
Jadeveon Clowney's Replacement
Former Player: Jadeveon Clowney, DE
Drafted By: Houston Texans
Pick: Round 1, Pick 1
Replacement: Darius English
The task of replacing the top overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Jadeveon Clowney, is a daunting one for South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward.
With the loss of Clowney to the NFL, the Gamecocks lose one of the best defensive players to play college football in recent years. Despite the questions of his work ethic, Clowney was a major part of the defense with his incredible plays, especially in the pass rush.
Now, South Carolina turns to Darius English.
English has a long frame that is similar to Clowney's with a good deal of height at 6'6", but he must put on more weight so that he isn't a rag doll for offensive linemen to toss around.
He has done a solid job this spring of increasing his mass by filling out his slender frame, but English could still use a few more pounds.
While he may be lacking in force and size, he is not short of athletic talent. English is quick and long, which could make him a potent asset for the South Carolina defense.
Bruce Ellington's Replacement
Former Player: Bruce Ellington, WR
Drafted By: San Francisco 49ers
Pick: Round 4, Pick 6
Replacement: Shaq Roland
Bruce Ellington may not have been the star of South Carolina's offense last year, as Mike Davis and Connor Shaw took the spotlight, but that doesn't mean he will be easy to replace.
Shaq Roland, who has underachieved thus far in his career with the Gamecocks, will be the likely replacement for Ellington as the team's go-to wideout.
Ellington was quick out of his routes, a smart runner and had exceptional athleticism that will help him to thrive in the NFL. The fact that Ellington went in the fourth round was shocking, and the 49ers landed a stud player at a great value.
While Roland has big shoes to fill, he is more of a prototypical wide receiver, with a little more size and natural ability than that of Ellington.
The expectations are for Roland to reach Alshon Jeffery-like status in his development and career in Columbia. Roland may not become that good, but he has the raw potential to become an elite receiver and surpass the body of work that Ellington had during his time with South Carolina.
The Undrafted Players
Former Player: Connor Shaw, QB
New Team: Cleveland Browns
Replacement: Dylan Thompson
Dylan Thompson has backed up Connor Shaw for years and is ready to finally be the leader of the Gamecocks offense on an everyday basis.
Thompson has a big arm and will have a slew of offensive weapons that should help him and the South Carolina offense rank among the best in the SEC.
Former Player: Jimmy Legree, CB
New Team: Seattle Seahawks
Replacement: Brison Williams/Incoming Freshman
The Gamecocks secondary is still a major work in progress. Technically, Brison Williams would replace Victor Hampton, who also left for the NFL but isn't signed yet.
Chris Lammons, Wesley Green or D.J. Smith could become the No. 2 cornerback this fall, despite being true freshmen.
Former Player: Kelcy Quarles, DT
New Team: New York Giants
Replacement: J.T. Surratt
J.T. Surratt logged significant time last season alongside Kelcy Quarles and will look to pick up where he left off in 2013 as an anchor in the middle of the defensive front.
Former Player: Chaz Sutton
New Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Replacement: Gerald Dixon
Gerald Dixon is a stocky and strong defensive end with a similar build to Chaz Sutton. The Gamecocks will need Dixon on the edge and as a run-stopper.
Former Player: Ronald Patrick, RG
New Team: Dallas Cowboys
Replacement: Mike Matulis
Ronald Patrick strung together a good career with South Carolina. Mike Matulis is big, smart and versatile on the offensive line and will be valuable to the Gamecocks' offensive success on the right side in 2014.