Stop me if you’ve heard this before: This EDGE class is insanely strong. I know, the point has been hammered home. But I’m finding it difficult to be creative with these introductions because each new study just drives that point home further. Texas A&M DE Micheal Clemons is the latest scouting report to reinforce the depth of the defensive end group in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Micheal Clemons NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Defensive End
- School: Texas A&M
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’5″
- Weight: 270 pounds
Micheal Clemons Scouting Report
DeMarvin Leal gets the most hype among Texas A&M defensive linemen, and with good reason. But there’s more talent on the Aggies’ front worth recognizing. Tyree Johnson is a high-motor edge rusher who could be worth a look late. And then there’s Clemons — an intriguing lineman with some eye-catching tools.
Clemons falls under the radar in a deep EDGE class, but there’s something there with the Texas A&M DE. Clemons was quietly very productive in 2021, and there’s a chance he could carry that production over to the NFL. Here’s what he brings to the table.
Clemons’ athletic profile
Standing at 6’5″, 270 pounds, Clemons has a long, strong frame with dangerous power capacity. With his overwhelming wingspan and above-average burst, he can generate immense amounts of speed-to-power. As a result, he has some absurdly disruptive reps. He can stab the torso and use his power and leg drive to blow blockers back.
Clemons’ explosiveness is another vital part of the speed-to-power equation. The Texas A&M DE has a good first step and shows great long-track explosiveness when he has a runway. With his long strides, he builds up speed and attacks with ferocity. Those long strides give Clemons solid range in pursuit as well. He has a wide tackling radius and can overtake players with his sheer reach.
Going further, Clemons has above-average lateral agility. While he’s not the spriest as a lateral mover, he uses his long, explosive strides to stunt inside with euro moves. He also has a decent spin in his arsenal. On top of his lateral agility, Clemons has above-average bend for his size. It’s far from elite, but Clemons has decent ankle flexion. He can stab his opponent’s torso to create space then accelerate through the apex.
Execution beyond the physical traits
The flashes of hand usage from Clemons are incredibly encouraging. The Texas A&M DE has the ability to stack hand moves and use rushing combos through reps. This shows up rushing at multiple angles as well as working around the edge. While bending with his ankle flexion, Clemons has shown he can multitask with his hands, and he often brings a relentless motor.
Clemons has several chop-rip combos in his arsenal, and he also has a dangerous bull rush with his traits. Going further, Clemons’ hands can be incredibly violent. He’s able to viciously club blockers and rip down anchors. He nullifies extensions with violent, powerful swipes, and he’s shown he can use patience and precise timing to maximize those swipes. Additionally, Clemons is able to stunt inside and exploit attack angles.
In run defense, Clemons brings appeal as well. With his sturdy frame and strong base, Clemons can set the edge and hold his ground. The Texas A&M DE has the ability to establish a half-man relationship and wall off the outside with his wingspan. He uses his strength to flex and warp anchors, and he can break free with that strength.
While streaky in this area, Clemons has shown to anticipate the snap and get off the line quickly. He also hustles in pursuit.
Areas for improvement
Most notably, outside of his power, Clemons doesn’t have any arguably elite traits. His first step isn’t elite, and he won’t always win early against athletic offensive tackles. He doesn’t quite have the sheer speed to get outside and challenge the apex consistently, and he’s also not the most bendy player. He has decent ankle flexion, but his hips get locked up fairly easily at the apex, and his high-cut frame can make it hard for him to shrink his surface area.
Clemons’ stiff hips also hurt him in a few other areas. He doesn’t have great recovery athleticism on second efforts, and he bends at the waist on occasion. This can prevent him from drawing power from his base. Going further, Clemons can be a lumbering mover in space. His change-of-direction ability isn’t great and can leave him lurching at times.
Moving on from his physical limitations, there are other notes for the Texas A&M DE. Clemons’ movements can appear heavy, and he’s not overly twitchy or energetic. He sometimes plays a bit too tall and doesn’t always channel full power on bull rushes. Additionally, he doesn’t always use his hands to their full violent capacity. He sometimes lacks coordination and can be more controlled. On bull rushes, his leg drive is powerful, but he doesn’t always keep his feet moving after contact.
Closing out, Clemons’ motor is hot but sometimes fades on second and third effort plays. He can also be late off the snap at times and doesn’t always get maximum juice on his first step.
Clemons’ 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview
Clemons is an intriguing player. It’s worth noting that teams with age thresholds may be less likely to consider him. He’ll be an older prospect, as he first entered the JUCO ranks all the way back in 2015. But even with a shorter span of prime years, Clemons brings appeal — and it helps that he should be ready to at least make a rotational impact fairly early.
Clemons has a rare mix of explosiveness and length, which he can use to generate devastating power for blockers. His power is a chief element of his game and allows him to drive players back and disrupt the pocket. Beyond that, Clemons has shown to utilize violent, forceful hands, with enough ankle flexion to accelerate around the corner and win at the apex. Clemons also has multitasking ability with his hands. He comes prepared on each rep, generally has good pad level, and has some moves in his arsenal.
Additionally, Clemons has a frame that could take on added weight without losing athleticism. Thus, were he to get to at least 280 pounds, Clemons could shift inside and become a hybrid 3-technique. There, his high-level combination of burst and length would be an even greater mismatch.
Nevertheless, at his current size, Clemons profiles as a 4-3 defensive end who can operate well out of a three-point stance. But he has enough athleticism to be somewhat scheme versatile. He also brings three-down ability. Clemons likely goes on Day 3, but he has starting upside and offers strong rotational ability early on.
Clemons’ Player Profile
Clemons had to wait a long time for his NFL Draft opportunity. His journey started in high school when he first flashed as a tall, athletic SAM linebacker. Unfortunately for Clemons, a groin injury prevented him from making the most of his final season, and he didn’t earn much interest at the FBS level. Clemons chose the JUCO route and ended up signing with Cisco Junior College in Cisco, Texas.
Clemons’ stint at the JUCO level wasn’t an indictment of his talent, and he soon made that clear with his play. At the time, he was a 6’6″, 241-pound specimen with a reported 4.53 40-yard dash. He used those traits well, earning 2.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss in six games in 2016 after redshirting in 2015.
Clemons’ career at Texas A&M
After the loss of Myles Garrett to the 2017 NFL Draft, the Aggies relied on Clemons to help soften the blow. He became a valuable member of a deep defensive line rotation, but it took some time for him to latch onto a starting role.
In 2017, Clemons logged 19 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and a sack in a rotational role. He was on deck to keep earning reps in 2018, but he ended up redshirting due to a foot injury suffered before the season. Clemons returned in 2019 and posted 28 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a half-sack in 11 games.
At that point, a breakout from Clemons seemed unlikely. But the Texas A&M DE turned heads with his play in 2020 and 2021. Another injury limited him to five games in 2020, but over that span, Clemons registered 14 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks. In 2021, Clemons emerged in totality, racking up 32 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 2 pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a defensive touchdown.
It took a long time, but Clemons finally reached the mountaintop at the college football level. With his eligibility exhausted, he officially turned his sights to the 2022 NFL Draft.
Clemons’ NFL Draft ascension
It’ll be fascinating deciphering Clemons’ draft stock this offseason, as there’s a lot working against him and a lot working in his favor. Clemons’ age will be a sticking point, and he also has several injuries on his record that forced him to miss games — including one that forced him to redshirt in 2018. But on the flip side, he’s a very athletic player with high-level power capacity, functional hand usage, and some projected alignment versatility.
After failing to appear at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Clemons’ NFL Combine performance will be particularly important. But just watching the tape, teams who like big, athletic pass rushers on their defensive line should be in the market for Clemons on Day 3. He only adds to the depth of this class, and he could go on to be a great value deal in his limited prime years.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Michael Clemons
Positives: Underrated pass rusher who can come out of a three-point stance or stand over tackle. Resilient, gets upfield, and fights to make plays. Displays good change-of-direction skills, moves well laterally, and flashes athleticism. Breaks down well, plays with leverage, and effectively uses his hands.
Bends off the edge, consistently gets leverage on opponents, and keeps his feet moving. Effectively rushes the passer standing over tackle and uses his hands to protect himself. Focused on by opponents but rarely gets knocked off his feet.
Negatives: Struggles against the run. Slow shedding blocks and gets out-positioned by tight ends. Plays to one speed and isn’t fast in backside pursuit.
Analysis: Clemons possesses solid length, growth potential, and the ability to rush the passer. He’s a third-down specialist who can be used in a variety of roles at the next level. He’ll be a solid Day 3 selection.
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