Beasley highlights Tigers' NFL prospects

Clemson's Vic Beasley

It appears on paper that by all accounts, Vic Beasley made the right decision by choosing one more year at Clemson.

Beasley was a likely second-round prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft had he opted to forego his senior year, but the 6-3, 235-pound defensive end stayed in school, set the Tigers' sack record and has propelled himself to a widely projected first-round selection.

The question is, how early will Beasley hear his name called April 30 in Chicago, and where does he go?

New York could be a destination, one way or another. Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated and Dane Brugler of CBS Sports each project Beasley to go No. 6 to the Jets, while ESPN's Todd McShay's latest mock draft has Beasley eighth to the Giants.

WalterFootball.com has Beasley to the Saints at No. 13, while ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and CBS Sports' Rob Rang also peg Beasley a first-round prospect.

"I think with his ability to get to the quarterback - proven ability, which is important here - I like him a lot," Kiper told The Post and Courier in a teleconference last month. "You get into the mid-first round, and if you're a 3-4 team you're interested; if you're a 4-3 team, you would like him as well."

Beasley produced 33 sacks in two and a half years as a defensive end, which is tops all-time among the Tigers and fourth in ACC history. His 521/2 tackles for loss - capped by three in Clemson's 40-6 Russell Athletic Bowl win Monday over Oklahoma - rate fourth on Clemson's career list.

Now, of course, begins the journey to fulfill that potential at the next level. Beasley told The Post and Courier last week he intends to relocate to Boca Raton, Fla., this winter with XPE Sports performance trainer Tony Villani, continuing something of a Clemson pipeline.

Villani worked last spring with former Tigers Tajh Boyd, Martavis Bryant and Bashaud Breeland. Three of Beasley's teammates on Clemson's 2014 No. 1 total defense - linebacker Stephone Anthony, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and strong safety Robert Smith - intend to join Beasley with Villani in south Florida.

Anthony and Jarrett, who each along with Beasley earned consensus first-team all-ACC nods, are considered mid-round prospects.

Other defensive prospects include cornerback Garry Peters, linebacker Tony Steward and defensive tackle DeShawn Williams. On offense, lineman Kalon Davis, quarterback Cole Stoudt and wide receiver Adam Humphries will also go into training mode.

It is expected the Tigers' only early entrant will be a notable one: no announcement has been made, but Bradley Pinion told The Post and Courier following Monday's game he intends to go pro.

Pinion will be the second punter in 23 years - joining LSU's Brad Wing in 2013 - to declare early for the NFL Draft, per an old report by the Baton Rouge Advocate.