2020 NFL Draft: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Scouting Reports

PFN Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline's scouting reports for 2020 NFL Draft prospects in the ACC, including Isaiah Simmons and Mekhi Becton.

Clemson Tigers
2020 NFL Draft Prospects

Tremayne Anchrum, G

Career Snapshot: Two year starter for Clemson. Named Second Team All-ACC in first season as a starter in 2018. Named FirstTeam All-ACC in 2019. Two-time ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honoree.

Positives: Wide-bodied college tackle who projects to guard at the next level. Explosive at the point, fires off the snap, and works to stays square. Keeps his feet moving, makes proper use of angles in pass protection and seals defenders from the action. Strong, gets movement as a run blocker, and turns defenders from the action. Plays with a nasty attitude and works to hit as many defenders as possible. Sets with a wide base and bends his knees well.

Negatives: Moves forward better than he does laterally and struggles to slide off the edge in pass protection. Lacks lateral range. Doesn’t sink his butt at the line of scrimmage.

Analysis: Anchrum did a terrific job at the right tackle spot with Clemson, but he’s a wide-bodied lineman with limited mobility who must play in confined quarters. He should do well at guard in a system that does not ask him to cover much area or force him into a zone-blocking scheme.

Gage Cervenka, G

Career Snapshot: Two year starter for Clemson. Split time between center and right guard in 2018. Named Second Team All-ACC in 2019. Came to Clemson as a defensive tackle out of high school before switching to offense.

Positives: Nice-sized lineman who is explosive at the point, shows good initial strength and sets with a wide base. Strong, plays with a nasty attitude and gets movement as a run blocker. Solid position blocker who stays square and has the ability to seal opponents from the action.

Negatives: Leans on opponents and bends at the waist too often. Not a leverage blocker or natural knee bender. Rumbles around the field. Ineffective on the move. Limited athleticism and upside.

Analysis: Cervenka was a versatile blocker for Clemson who was used at both center and guard and successfully handled both spots. He possesses size and strength along with limited athleticism, but his versatility could help him catch on as an inexpensive backup.

Tee Higgins, WR

Career Snapshot: Two year starter for Clemson. Named Second Team All-ACC in 2018. Named First Team All-ACC in 2019. Finished career tied with DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins for school lead in all-time touchdown receptions. First receiver in school history to record double-digit touchdown receptions in back-to-back seasons.

Positives: Explosive game-changing receiver with terrific size and speed. Fluidly releases off the line of scrimmage, quickly gets to top speed, and displays himself as a solid vertical threat. Possesses terrific hand-eye coordination and focus, extends his hands and plucks the ball from midair. Uses his frame to shield away defenders, nicely adjusts to the errant throw and wins out in battles.

Turns upfield, keeps the play in bounds, and works to pick up positive yardage after the catch. High points the ball over defenders and makes the difficult reception with opponents draped on him. Tracks the ball in the air, correctly times his receptions and physically outmuscles opponents to come away with the catch. Gives effort as a downfield blocker.

Negatives: Lacks true deep speed and a second gear. Has a limited route tree.

Analysis: Higgins made an immediate impact at Clemson as a sophomore, and he elevated his game last season as both a game-controlling receiver and home-run-hitting threat. Though he lacks the true speed for a vertical offense, Higgins is fast enough to get downfield to make the reception and big enough to be used on underneath routes. Higgins must improve and expand his route running, but he comes with a large upside.

Tanner Muse, S

Career Snapshot: Three year starter for Clemson. Named a Thorpe award finalist and Third Team All-ACC in 2019. Named Third Team All-ACC in 2018. In 2016 became Clemson’s first freshman with a ‘Pick 6’ since 1989.

Positives: Smart, tough safety with linebacker size. Instinctive, displays a great head for the ball and stays with assignments. Tracks the pass in the air, gets vertical, and fights to defend throws. Sells out up the field on the blitz, sacrifices his body to make plays against the run and plays with an all-out mentality. Quick out to the sidelines and displays a solid burst of closing speed. Keeps the action in front of him and rarely makes mental mistakes.

Negatives: Shows a bit of stiffness in his game. Lacks great range.  Makes more plays with his head than his sheer physical skills.

Analysis: Muse was a terrific defender for Clemson who consistently made plays on the football, then turned in a great Combine workout, running much faster than anyone expected. He’s a versatile defender who can play a hybrid safety/linebacker position and add value on special teams.

Diondre Overton, WR

Career Snapshot: Made 5 starts during his Clemson career, all in 2019. Had a career-high 22 receptions for 352 yards in 2019. Named to the All-ACC Academic team in 2019.

Positives: Nice-sized receiver who showed flashes of ability the past three seasons. Plays with excellent balance and body control, nicely adjusts to the errant throw, and consistently extends to make the reception away from his frame. Fights with his hands to separate from defenders, uses his frame to shield away opponents and offers the quarterback a nice target. Keeps his head on a swivel as a downfield blocker.

Negatives: Does not always come away with the difficult catch. Displays limited run-after-catch skill. Possesses average quickness and deep speed. Must improve his footwork as a route runner.

Analysis: Overton displayed flashes of ability the past three years, but he saw limited playing time due to the depth of talent at receiver on the Clemson roster. He possesses the size and athleticism to play at the next level, and at the very least Overton should receive practice-squad consideration this fall.

Sean Pollard, C

Career Snapshot: Full-time starter in 2019. Started games in every season while at Clemson. Saw starts at center, guard, and tackle during his career. Named Second Team All-ACC in 2018 and 2019. Named Honorable Mention All-ACC in

Positives: Versatile offensive lineman with nice size and the ability to play three positions up front. Blocks with terrific fundamentals, stays square and keeps defenders in front of him. Works to bend his knees, sets with a wide base and anchors in pass protection. Fires into blocks, keeps his head on a swivel, and shows good awareness. Stays with assignments and works blocks hard.

Negatives: Really cannot slide in space and displays limited range. Average athlete. Ineffective in motion.

Analysis: Pollard was effective for Clemson at both the center and tackle positions and also offers possibilities at guard. He lacks great athleticism, but his versatility, football intelligence and approach to the game could make him an inexpensive utility lineman.

Isaiah Simmons, OLB

Career Snapshot: Three year starter for Clemson. Began Clemson career as a safety in 2017 before transitioning to linebacker for 2018 and 2019. Named First Team All-ACC and ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. Became school’s first ever Butkus Award winner in 2019. Unanimous All-American selection in 2019.

Positives: Explosive athlete with huge upside. Agile, explosive and covers a tremendous amount of area on the field. Very quick, displays incredible speed from the back side and shows great ability in pursuit. Explosive hitter who jars the ball loose and causes turnovers. Gets depth on pass drops, stays with assignments and fluidly moves in every direction. Physical and mixes it up with opponents. Solid open-field tackler.

Negatives: Best when he faces the action in coverage and has a tendency to faceguard. Slow out of his transition and struggles to stay with receivers out of breaks. Instincts are questionable at times. Lacks true linebacker size. Must develop a complete game.

Analysis: Simmons was highly graded on my board since he played safety for Clemson as a redshirt freshman, and he’s done nothing but improve his game and prove himself as an impact defender.

While he needs to improve his instincts and overall ball skills, his ability to force turnovers and cover huge amounts of area on the field will be attractive to defensive coordinators. I would suspect that Simmons lines up as a weakside linebacker if drafted by a 4-3 defense or even on the inside of a 3-4 alignment. He possesses rare athleticism, comes with a great upside and will have a long and productive NFL career if coached properly.

John Simpson, G

Career Snapshot: Three year starter at Clemson. Named Third Team All-ACC in 2018. Named First Team All-ACC in 2019. Consensus All-American in 2019. Outland Trophy semifinalist in 2019.

Positives: Powerful, explosive offensive guard who’s best in a small area. Fires into blocks, plays with a nasty attitude and works to finish off opponents. Strong, controls defenders and can be an overwhelming force. Jolts opponents with violent hand punch, stays square and does not give up an inch of space. Keeps his head on a swivel, works well with teammates and plays smart, tough football.

Negatives: Not light on his feet or quick in his actions. Stumbles around the field. Heavy-footed and cannot slide in space.

Analysis: Long productive at Clemson, Simpson came into the season highly regarded by NFL scouts and had a solid senior season. He was exposed at times during Senior Bowl practices, but in the proper system that does not require him to cover a lot of area on the field, Simpson can be a dominant force at the next level.

A.J. Terrell, CB

Career Snapshot: Two year starter at Clemson. Named Third Team All-ACC in 2018. Earned First Team All-ACC honors in 2019. Started all 30 games his final two seasons.

Positives: Athletic cornerback with a high upside. Physical, battles receivers and works hard to defend throws. Displays good awareness, knows where his opponent is on the field, and effectively covers receivers on crossing patterns.

Displays a nice move to the throw and an explosive burst out of his plant and quickly closes to the action. Keeps the action in front of him, stays on the receiver’s hip out of breaks and effectively tracks the pass when he faces the action.

Negatives: Tends to squat in his backpedal, which does not make for quick or smooth movements in reverse. Struggles to make plays with his back to the ball and cannot locate the pass in the air. Hits more than he wraps up tackling at times. Must polish his game.

Analysis: Terrell has flashed dominance the past two seasons, but he also displayed a lot of inconsistency and was beaten badly in big moments. He possesses solid size and speed, but he must improve his techniques and learn to make plays with his back to the ball. While I like Terrell, I also feel he must play in a zone system or backed off the line of scrimmage.

K’Von Wallace, S

Career Snapshot: Three year starter at Clemson. All-ACC academic selection in 2017 and 2019. Name Honorable Mention All-ACC in 2018. Named Third Team All-ACC in 2019. Earned Clemson’s first ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors since 2012 after team’s game against Texas A&M.

Positives: Undersized, instinctive safety who gets the most from his ability. Quickly picks up assignments, keeps the action in front of him and plays with excellent instincts. Disciplined, does a good job with his center-field coverage assignments and possesses solid hands for the interception. Works well with cornerbacks to bracket receivers over the middle of the field. Shows a closing burst of speed, works to defend the run and wraps up tackling.

Negatives: One-speed safety who lacks top deep speed. Loses to receivers in transition off the line and must improve his overall footwork.

Analysis: Wallace is a terrific football player with average size and speed who comes with minimal upside. He’s a zone safety prospect, but don’t expect Wallace to be anything other than a late-round pick.

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