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2019 NFL Draft: Scouting Clemson defensive tackle, Christian Wilkins

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Wilkins would add some pass rush to the middle of the Broncos defense.

College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T - Alabama v Clemson Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

One prospect who may interest the Denver Broncos in the first-round of the 2019 NFL Draft is former Clemson defensive tackle, Christian Wilkins. He’s a 6’3”, 315lb defensive tackle who is considered one of the top defensive tackles in the draft. Wilkins is ranked as the fourth best defensive tackle in the 2019 NFL Draft according to The Draft Network and ranked as the 15th best prospect in the entire draft.

Wilkins is ranked as the 4th best prospect according to NFL Network’s draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah.

Wilkins has solid size (6-foot-3, 315 pounds) for the position, and he’s been a disruptive presence along the Clemson line throughout his career. Against the pass, he has quick feet and hands, which allow him to routinely win early in the down. He’s at his best when slanting and working through the edges of blockers. He isn’t a powerful bull rusher. Against the run, he is much better on the back side. He relies on quickness to slip blocks and does a good job of avoiding cut blocks. On the front side, he’ll occasionally get too high -- and consequently, get turned and dumped. Overall, Wilkins has upside as a pass rusher and penetrator, but you’ll have to live with some deficiencies at the point of attack.

Wilkins played a total of four seasons at Clemson and helped lead one of the nations top defenses during that span. During his four-year career at Clemson, Wilkins totaled 192 tackles, 40.5 tackles for a loss, 16 sacks, 15 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles. This past season, Wilkins totaled 51 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.

A collection of accolades compiled during this past season at Clemson via clemsontigers.com.

  • First William V. Campbell Trophy winner in Clemson history
  • NFF National Scholar-Athlete selection
  • Nagurski Trophy finalist
  • Senior CLASS Award finalist
  • Outland Trophy finalist
  • Bednarik Award finalist
  • Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist
  • Lombardi Award finalist
  • Unanimous first-team All-American, earning selections by AP, AFCA, FWAA, Walter Camp and Sporting News
  • First-team All-ACC
  • Unanimous first-team AP All-ACC selection
  • CoSIDA Academic All-District selection
  • Earned fourth career All-ACC Academic selection
  • Voted as a permanent team captain

Christian Wilkins

Defensive tackle | Senior | Clemson

Height: 6’3” Weight: 315lbs | 40-time: 5.04 seconds

Arm length: 32 1/2” | Hands: 9 3/4”

Bench Press: 28 reps | Vertical Jump: 29.5 inches | Broad Jump: 107.0 inches

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.55 seconds

Film Room:

Scouting Report:

Strengths:

  • Very athletic, agile, and strong
  • Four year player with years of starting experience and production
  • Versatile player who played all over the defensive line and even some offensive snaps
  • Explosive off the snap
  • Very technical player
  • Squatty player who plays with good leverage
  • A penetrator who gets into the backfield quickly
  • Shows good range and tracks down ball carriers well
  • Has a bit of a nose for the ball
  • Has strong hands and a strong punch
  • Disrupts passing lanes(15 career pass deflections)
  • Gives 110% every snap and is relentless
  • Emotional and locker room leader for the Clemson defense
  • High character person

Weaknesses:

  • Not the biggest or strongest defensive lineman
  • Shorter arms than you would like
  • Played well in college but was surrounded by talent and potential first and second round players
  • Doesn’t anchor very well
  • Struggles with double teams

Mockdraftable spider graph:

Quotable:

The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs on Clemson defensive tackle, Christian Wilkins.

“Christian Wilkins projects favorably into an even front as a true 3T defensive tackle. Wilkins’ versatility would allow him to play at a high level in odd fronts as well, provided he’s tasked with B-gap assignments and allowed to penetrate the pocket. Wilkins has a great nose for the football and is technically advanced, he should be capable of making a positive impact for a defense very early on in his NFL career. Starter with Pro Bowl ceiling.”

Does Christian Wilkins make sense for the Broncos?:

I love the fit.

Wilkins has his concerns, but his pass rushing ability and versatility make him an excellent fit for Vic Fangio’s defense. Speaking of which, Fangio recently commented on how defensive lineman are interchangeable and how their versatility is key. Well, as I said above, that is a strength of Wilkins game.

I think D-Linemen are interchangeable. I think the days of a nose tackle and an end—to me, they’re all tackles. They play from lining up on this tackle all the way to that tackle and anywhere in between. They all have to react to the same type of blocking schemes and the same type of blocks to be able to pass rush. To me, they’re defensive linemen. Period. End of story.”

Now, while the Broncos defensive line seems set on paper, that could change come next year. Shelby Harris and Adam Gotsis are entering the final year of their deals and who knows how much longer Derek Wolfe will be around. Fangio will likely want to add some youth and talent to this group before losing a few of them.

I keep mentioning how interior pass rush is currently lacking with the Broncos. All they really have is Shelby Harris, so adding Wilkins would give them depth at this very important role, as well as another pass rusher/chess piece to us on passing downs.

I am not sure how likely a defensive lineman is at 10th overall, but if they do decide to go that route with their 10th overall selection, Clemson’s Christian WIlkins is a name to keep an eye on.

Poll

Do you want the Broncos to select defensive tackle Christian Wilkins in the first-round of the draft?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Yes
    (132 votes)
  • 68%
    No
    (284 votes)
416 votes total Vote Now