2015 NFL Draft Preview: OL T.J. Clemmings
The Sports Quotient’s annual Draft Preview series returns! Over the course of the 10 weeks leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, we will take a look at the top NFL prospects at each position. This seventh week, the focus is on offensive linemen. Today's O-line prospect is T.J. Clemmings from Pitt.
A second-team All-American and first-team All-ACC pick in 2014, T.J. Clemmings began his career at Pitt as a defensive end. Following a redshirt adjustment year during his third year at Pitt, Clemmings started 13 games at right tackle each of his final two seasons. A 2015 Senior Bowl pick, Clemmings helped lead the Pitt Panthers to the 16th best rushing game in the country.
At 6'5" and 309 pounds with 35" arms, Clemmings is the perfect size for an NFL tackle. His athleticism and explosiveness set him apart in this class, as his nimbleness can allow him to block more effectively for shifty running backs. His experience at defensive end earlier in his college career gives an idea of how athletic he can be in the trenches.
For being a first round talent, Clemmings is pretty inexperienced. Coming off only his second season at strictly right tackle, the former defensive end has a lot of growing room. In some ways this could be a strength, but it means the Panther product is further from making an impact in his rookie season.
Needing to fill out a bit more and gain more confidence in his new(ish) position, Clemmings remains something of a project. However, his physical frame and skill set he already wields is a fantastic start. While Clemmings may not be able to jump right in on the first day of camp and make a difference, he could see a lot of playing time from a contender, especially if he falls late in the draft. Expect to hear his name being mentioned in a team's success in the playoff push weeks.
The best spot I see for Clemmings is Tampa Bay, but only assuming they take Jameis Winston with the 1st overall pick. I don't really see Clemmings staying on the board through to the second round, but if he remains available, then the Buccaneers need to grab him to protect their new franchise quarterback.