CLEMSON — It turns out Clemson might have an NFL entrant playing offense after all this year.
Isaiah Battle went from Deshaun Watson’s blindside protector to former Clemson offensive tackle and current NFL prospect in a couple weeks’ span. Battle announced July 25 he was entering the NFL supplemental draft, which is scheduled to take place Thursday with Battle as the perceived top prize.
The move has thrown Clemson’s offensive line into flux, though the impact won’t be known until fall camp and the season opener in September. The outcome of Battle’s decision — which stems from multiple off-field developments this summer — will largely be dictated by Thursday’s draft.
There were 26 teams on hand to check out Battle’s Pro Day hosted Tuesday by Clemson, according to the school.
Seven players are eligible to be taken, including Kansas cornerback Kevin Short, UConn tight end Sean McQuillan and Houston defensive end Eric Eiland.
Battle was cited for possession of marijuana, speeding and no proof of insurance June 11. He has posted on his Facebook page he will soon be a father.
On the field, Battle was suspended one game in 2013 for sucker-punching a N.C. State player. In 2014, he had to sit out the opening drive at Florida State for showing up late to a team meeting, and was suspended vs. Syracuse for disciplinary reasons that were never disclosed.
However, NFL reporters have indicated based on information gleaned from league sources that Battle is considered a draftable talent, and should expect to be taken sometime Thursday. There has not been a player taken in the supplemental draft since Cleveland took receiver Josh Gordon in 2012.
Any team that uses a pick Thursday on Battle has to surrender a pick in that corresponding round for the 2016 draft.
This spring’s draft was the first since 2003 without an offensive player from Clemson being selected.
Clemson has never had a player taken in the NFL supplemental draft since its inauguration in 1977.