The NFL draft experience has been great for the former Clemson Tigers. The first round was actually one of the best for draftees from one school in NFL history.
On Thursday in Nashville, TN, Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell and Dexter Lawrence made Clemson and NFL history. Ferrell went fourth to the Los Angeles Raiders, Wilkins 13th to the Miami Dolphins and Lawrence 17th to the New York Giants. The former Tigers became the first defensive linemen trio to be taken in the first round from one school and the most picks(3) in that round in Clemson history.
Wilkins was the only player in attendance and when his named was called, he gave the Dolphins’ fans an indelible peek into what makes him such a unique player/person.
“With the 13th pick in the 2019 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins select Christian Wilkins defensive tackle, Clemson.”
After those words by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, an exuberant Wilkins reached the stage, looked at Goodell, pointed upwards and then leaped into the air and Goodell. Wilkins expected a chest bump. But there was one problem. Goodell, 60, either, misread the directional gesture by Wilkins or he knew that crashing into a 6-foot-4, 315 pound defensive tackle, more than two feet in the air, could result in an unfavorable gravitational experience for him.
Roger Goodell’s exuberantly awkward hugs with players who’ve just been drafted are legendary.
I can’t think of a better thing to say about them than what Andy Nesbitt said about them, so here’s that:
“While at first it seemed like a fun thing for players to do, it now just seems forced. Goodell has all the genuine warmth of an emotionless cult leader and chances are he’s going to fine these guys sometime down the line for doing something that they shouldn’t be fined over. He’s not your friend. Shake his hand, get your jersey and hat and get the heck out of there.”
Andy’s right, of course, but let’s be thankful that Christian Wilkins, a defensive tackle from Clemson who was selected No. 13 by the Dolphins, didn’t follow his advice. At all. In fact he did the opposite: he out-hyped Goodell by at least double, and almost ended him.
Wilkins gives him the up symbol, every so briefly, and then launches. Goodell, who ponders every decision approximately 17 months longer than he ever needs to (unless that decision is whether to listen to Jerry Jones, which he does reflexively for some reason), didn’t pick up the cue.
Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins talks about his grandfather’s death during a press conference at the Miami Dolphins’ training facility in Davie on Friday, April 26, 2019. Wilkins was the Miami Dolphins first-round NFL draft pick yesterday.
Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins explains what he hopes to bring fans during a press conference at the Miami Dolphins’ training facility in Davie on Friday, April 26, 2019. Wilkins was the Miami Dolphins first-round NFL draft pick yesterday.