Clemson Football has taken a bit of a step back after making the College Football Playoff six years in a row and winning two national championships. Nevertheless, the Tigers still boast an abundance of NFL talent on their roster that helps them compete every year. With another season gone, some of those key players will be moving on to the professional level after declaring for the NFL Draft.

We now know the order for most of the first round, which means we can get a good sense of where certain players might go. While we will almost certainly see this order shuffle around with trades, let’s just stick to the default order for now. This approach just helps with simplicity, as trades can change the entire draft order and are nearly impossible to predict.

Clemson has three projected first-round picks in this year’s draft, although, where in the first round they land remains a mystery. Still, we can make educated guesses based on team needs, draft order and positional rankings. With that in mind, let’s predict where these three Clemson football standouts could go in the NFL Draft.

3. DT Bryan Bresee – 20th overall, Seattle Seahawks

Bryan Bresee’s greatest asset and what makes him such a good prospect is his intangibles. He has tremendous size at 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, plus good speed off the line to get off blocks. In 25 collegiate games, Bresee racked up 51 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss and nine sacks. Bresee managed to be a star despite dealing with great adversity, including a torn ACL in 2021.

Despite his outstanding ability, Bresee faces stiff competition in this draft class. Georgia’s Jalen Carter is pretty much a lock to go in the top five, and other defensive linemen like Baylor’s Siaki Ika and Clemson teammate Myles Murphy could go before him as well. It’s due to no fault of his own, but Bresee might take a bit of a tumble with the sheer competition. NFL Mock Drafts project him as a first-round pick, but he could end up sliding deep into the round.

However, that fall could end up being a blessing in disguise. The Seattle Seahawks, who hold the 20th pick, would be an excellent fit for the star defensive lineman. Seattle is missing a true force in the middle of the line, and Bresee could be just what the doctor ordered.

2. DE Myles Murphy – 8th overall, Atlanta Falcons

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Despite Bresee’s great play, Myles Murphy is the true star of the Tigers’ defensive line. In 38 games at Clemson, Murphy accumulated 119 total tackles, 37 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. He’s a bit smaller than Bresee at only 275 pounds, but considering he plays on the end more than tackle, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Murphy has clearly proven himself at Clemson, and NFL scouts have taken notice. After Carter, Murphy will likely be the second defensive lineman off the board and is likely a top-10 pick. Fortunately enough, there are a few teams in the top 10 who could really use some defensive line help.

The Atlanta Falcons desperately need help on the defensive side of the ball. Atlanta finished in the bottom 10 in most defensive metrics this season, with the most egregious stat being only 21 sacks the entire year, second-worst in the league. At eighth overall, Murphy is the easy choice to bring some much-needed help to the pass rush.

1. LB Trenton Simpson – 7th overall, Las Vegas Raiders

On paper, Trenton Simpson may not be as stellar of a prospect as his teammates. That’s not to say he’s bad, he’s an outstanding player and wouldn’t be a projected first-rounder in NFL Mock Drafts if he wasn’t. However, compared to the star defensive linemen, Simpson isn’t as much of a can’t-miss prospect.

That said, Simpson has a real chance to go above his teammates due to the nature of the draft class. While there’s an abundance of defensive line talent on display, there isn’t a ton to pick from at linebacker. Simpson is the best linebacker in the class, so any team lacking in that position should be calling him on draft night.

Simpson enjoyed a stellar three-year career at Clemson. The junior linebacker appeared in 37 games for the Tigers, racking up 164 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. If he can translate that skill to the professional level, he can be the centerpiece of an NFL defense for years.

Sure enough, there happens to be a team in the top 10 with a gaping hole at linebacker. Honestly, the Las Vegas Raiders need help all over the defense, but linebacker is definitely the most pressing, especially with Denzel Perryman entering free agency. The Raiders would be very wise to take Simpson and solidify their defense when they pick at No. 7 overall.