NFL Draft 2010: A Look at the Clemson Draftees
The 2010 edition of the NFL draft has come and gone. Five former Clemson Tigers are headed to the professional ranks as draftees. Others will have their opportunity to sign with NFL teams as free agents.
Here's a look at the Tigers who were drafted and what their prospects might look like at the next level.
1) C.J. Spiller to Buffalo Bills (First Round)
We all knew that Spiller was going in the top half of the first round. We all knew he was headed to a team that was less than stellar. We just didn't know it was going to be to Buffalo.
If you thought that Spiller was fast on grass in Death Valley, wait till you see him on turf. Expect a few returns for scores fairly soon.
That's the good news. The other side is that the artificial surface, often frozen, in Buffalo won't extend his career.
The other bad news is that the Buffalo offensive line is far worse than anything Spiller has ever run behind. Buffalo didn't really use their other picks to augment it.
We'll see if they add anyone to the line, but if not, Spiller better hope he is used more as a return man/backfield receiver and less of a workhorse in year one.
2) Jacoby Ford to Oakland Raiders (Fourth Round)
You knew that Al Davis had to be salivating over Ford's sub 4.3 40-yard dash at the combine.
There have been a lot of knocks on Ford heading into the draft. His route running ability has been questioned along with his size.
Ford will find a home in the NFL as a slot receiver, and his speed will create space. Even as a linear route runner, someone that fast can still stretch a defense.
There's a reason that Ford and Spiller are the all-time yardage leaders in NCAA FBS history for any tandem. Ford, along with Spiller, has a NFL career in front of him.
3) Ricky Sapp to Philadelphia Eagles (Fifth Round)
It's really simple with Ricky Sapp. If the knee is healed, he'll be fine. If not, then his career will be fairly brief.
The smarts, speed, skill and heart are all there. That's why Sapp was projected in the late first/early second round. Evidently more than one team has questions about his knee, which explains his fall to the fifth round.
In the NFL, Sapp could be an average defensive end or a dominant outside linebacker. We'll see how the Eagles use him.
4) Crezdon Butler to Pittsburgh Steelers (Fifth Round)
Congratulations to the Steelers, who did their homework. They just got the steal of the 2010 Draft.
Many had Chris Chancellor projected higher than Butler on their draft boards. Chancellor is a fine talent and will catch on somewhere, but it was Butler who anchored the Clemson secondary for years.
Butler is a true shut-down corner who can make a top receiver disappear. He makes good coverage decisions and has blazing speed.
It won't be long before he's matching up with Chad Ochocinco in an AFC North Divisional game. Let's see what Ochocinco's stat line looks like after the game.
Butler may make a name for himself in the special teams department as well. Had it not been for Spiller, he would have had ample opportunities to return kicks in college.
5) Kavell Conner to Indianapolis Colts (Seventh Round)
When coaches, coordinators and schemes change, linebackers have it the toughest.
In Kevin Steele's defense, especially towards the end of the season, it was the linebackers getting thrown under the bus, week after week.
The point is, it's hard to say how Kavell Conner will fare in the NFL.
Physically, he's as capable as it gets. It's just difficult to evaluate a linebacker under a scheme that played so much nickel and relied so heavily on safeties for run support.
If given time to fit into Indy's scheme, Conner could be a success for the Colts. At the very least, he'll get his chance.