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Three of first four draft picks, all in top 40, come from Clemson-Alabama national title game

It’s safe to say Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden tuned in for Clemson’s 44-16 victory over Alabama in January. The Oakland Raiders, after all, used three of their first four picks in the 2019 NFL Draft – all in the top 40 – on prospects who played in the national championship game.

First, Oakland shocked the football world by taking Clemson pass-rusher Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick. Broadly considered a likely late first-round pick coming into draft night, Ferrell had 55 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks last season en route to being named ACC Player of the Year and a consensus First-Team All-American. He was credited with four tackles and one and-a-half tackles for loss in the Tigers’ crowning win over the Crimson Tide.

The Raiders used their second first-round choice on Alabama’s Josh Jacobs, the first running back to come off the board this year. Splitting time in Alabama’s backfield with a stable of other NFL-caliber runners since he was a true freshman, Jacobs finished his college career with 251 carries for 1,591 yards and 16 touchdowns, also 48 passes for 571 yards and five scores. He’ll pair with fourth-year back Jalen Richard to give Oakland a versatile, dangerous pair of playmakers out of the backfield.

After selecting Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram at No. 27 overall, the Raiders went back to poaching players from college football’s most successful programs following a trade back to N0. 40. Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen was a two-year starter in college, and picked off Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in the second quarter of the title game, setting the stage for the Tigers to go up double-digits – a commanding lead they never relinquished.

Needless to say, if Ferrell, Jacobs, and Mullen perform at the next level the way they did in college, it might be only a matter of time until they help the Raiders compete for a championship of their own.