Simpson selected by Ravens on day 2 of 2023 NFL Draft
CLEMSON, S.C. — Linebacker Trenton Simpson became Clemson’s third pick of the 2023 NFL Draft upon being selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round (No. 86 overall) on Friday. Including the selections of Myles Murphy and Bryan Bresee in the first round, Clemson produced three Top 100 selections in a draft for the sixth time in the last eight years.
Like Murphy and Bresee, Simpson was a five-star prospect in Clemson’s 2020 recruiting class. He started 27 of the 37 games in which he appeared for Clemson from 2020-22 and concluded his Tiger tenure with a 2022 campaign in which he earned All-ACC honors and was named as a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy.
“The guy is 230-something pounds and runs a 4.4 and he’s strong as an ox,” Head Coach Dabo Swinney said. “And he’s one of the best young people you’ll ever meet.”
Simpson became the first Clemson player selected by the Ravens since the franchise’s inception in 1996. His selection leaves the Carolina Panthers as the only active NFL franchise never to draft a Clemson player. The Ravens also became the 28th NFL franchise to select at least one Clemson player during Swinney’s head coaching tenure.
The 2023 NFL Draft will resume at noon ET on Saturday with Rounds 4-7. Notes and comments from Clemson coaches following each selection will be available on ClemsonTigers.com Draft Central.
– Clemson has now had at least one player selected in the NFL Draft in 21 consecutive years, trailing only the 1951-74 NFL Drafts — a span of 24 years — for the longest streak in school history.
– Clemson has produced at least one first-round pick in nine of the last 11 drafts.
– Clemson, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Ohio State are the only five schools with at least one first-round pick in at least nine of the last 11 drafts.
– The 2023 NFL Draft is the eighth in which Clemson has produced multiple first-round picks, joining the 1979, 1982, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021 first rounds. In all but one of those instances (1982), all of the selections came from one side of the ball.
– Clemson has had multiple players selected in the first round in four of the last five — and six of the last nine — drafts.
– Clemson was one of only five schools to produce multiple first-round picks in 2023.
– Clemson produced multiple first-round picks on defense for the fourth time in school history, joining the 2015 (DE Vic Beasley and LB Stephone Anthony), 2019 (DE Clelin Ferrell, DT Christian Wilkins and DT Dexter Lawrence) and 2020 (LB Isaiah Simmons and CB A.J. Terrell) NFL Drafts.
– Dabo Swinney pushed his number of first-round picks in his head coaching tenure to 17, the second-most of any active coach.
– Clemson has now had seven defensive linemen selected since the 2015 NFL Draft. Clemson’ seven are the most edge rushers and interior defensive linemen selected from any school in that span, ahead of Georgia (six), Michigan (five) and Alabama (four).
– With consecutive selections of Myles Murphy and Bryan Bresee with the No. 28 and No. 29 picks, respectively, Clemson produced back-to-back first-round picks in a single draft for the first time in program history.
– Murphy and Bresee became the third Clemson tandem to be drafted back-to-back in any round all-time, joining Chris Clemons and Michael Hamlin in 2009 and Marcus Gilchrist and Da’Quan Bowers in 2011.
– Clemson has produced at least one Top 50 pick in 16 of the last 18 NFL Drafts, dating to 2006. The only drafts in that span in which Clemson did not produce a Top 50 pick were in 2009 and 2018.
– Clemson recorded three Top 100 selections in a draft for the sixth time in the last eight years. Clemson’s lone exceptions since 2016 came in 2018 and 2022.
– With the selection of a defensive end, defensive tackle and linebacker, Clemson produced its first three picks of a draft from its defensive front seven for the fourth time in the Common Draft era, joining the 1988, 2015 and 2019 NFL Drafts.
– With the addition of a selection by the Ravens, Head Coach Dabo Swinney has now produced a draft pick for 28 of the 32 NFL teams in his head coaching tenure. The only NFL teams not to select a Clemson player in Swinney’s head coaching tenure are the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers.
NOTES ON THE SELECTION OF TRENTON SIMPSON:
– Simpson became the 74th player in Dabo Swinney’s head coaching tenure to be drafted into the NFL, including the eighth third-round pick of Swinney’s tenure.
– Simpson became the 31st Clemson linebacker selected in the Common Draft era and the seventh Clemson linebacker selected since 2015.
– Simpson became the first Clemson player selected by the Ravens in franchise history.
– Simpson became the first Clemson player selected by a Baltimore-based franchise since the Baltimore Colts selected C Tony Berryhill in the ninth round of the 1982 NFL Draft.
– Simpson became the second Clemson player ever drafted with the No. 86 overall pick, joining CB Dexter Davis (1991).
– Simpson was the fifth consecutive Clemson defensive player selected in an NFL Draft across the 2022-23 drafts. The five straight defensive picks have come following the 2021 NFL Draft in which all five of Clemson’s picks came from the offensive side of the ball.
COMMENTS ON TRENTON SIMPSON:
HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY:
“Trenton Simpson is the freak of the draft, I mean, he’s just the guy that everybody’s probably trying to figure out like, ‘Where do you play him? What is he?’ But I know this: The guy is 230-something pounds and runs a 4.4 and he’s strong as an ox. He’s one of the best young people you’ll ever meet. Unbelievable passion for the game. Still a developing player. Like Myles Murphy and Bryan Bresee, he’s an early entrant into the draft, and so they’re elite talents but they’re still in the progression of becoming what they are going to be, and Trenton is no different. He’s a guy that is still developing as a box player, but he’s elite in space. He’s elite coming off the edge. He can cover. He is a physical tackler. There’s just so much you can do with Trenton Simpson and I think his best football is in front of him.
“I think of it kind of like when Tee Higgins came out, and I would put Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy and Trenton Simpson kind of all in the same category. When the coach of the Bengals called me to ask me to ask about taking Tee with the first pick of the second round, he was like, ‘What are we getting?’ And I said you’re getting a top-15 pick with the first pick of the second round. And you look at what he’s done career-wise and I would say the same thing about Trenton. With Trenton — and Myles and Bryan — they’re great kids, they’re great workers, and their best football is in front of them. And I think regardless of where they’ve been picked, their value is higher. Trenton’s a Swiss Army knife, and it’s going to be fun to watch him mature and develop and find his way. He’s very similar to Isaiah Simmons in that he’s just got this real dynamic skill set that will translate to the next level.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR/LINEBACKERS COACH WES GOODWIN:
“First of all, they are getting a great young man who comes to work every day with the right mindset and attitude to improve and prepare like a pro. Trenton’s work ethic is unmatched. He devotes free time to bettering himself both as a football player and personally. They are getting a worker, a guy that is going to show up every day and bring great energy and great focus in the meeting rooms and take that to the practice fields. He’s a guy that is ultra-competitive and wants to win every rep, and he’s a guy who is going to strain and give you everything he’s got.”