Micheal Clemons, EDGE, Texas A&M
Haason Reddick, one of Carolina’s best pass rushers, left in free agency to join the Philadelphia Eagles. The Carolina Panthers do still have Brian Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos, who compiled 9 and 6 sacks last year, respectively. Despite that, a team can never have enough edge rushers. Especially long players with tools that are available on day three of the NFL Draft. Texas A&M’s Micheal Clemons fits that profile.
Clemons is a tall (6’5” 270) and long (6’11” wingspan) edge rusher that had the best year of his career last season. Clemons was part of a stout Aggies defense and recorded 7 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and had a fumble return for a touchdown. The Garland, TX native is a strong and athletic player with long arms and long legs.
He also has the coveted trait of being able to bend when coming around the corner. This pliability allows him to shorten the distance between him and the quarterback when he tries to get around the offensive tackle’s outside shoulder.
He’s a high effort and aggressive player who sometimes runs into sacks through pure effort and determination. Micheal Clemons has good functional upper body strength, uses his hands well, and has a few pass rushing moves in his bag. Clemons has used a spin move, a rip-and-dip move, an outside-in move, and a club move. His size, speed, and length could prove very useful at the next level where he could initially be deployed on passing downs to pressure the quarterback.
Despite the physical tools, Micheal Clemons has his share of weaknesses. He’s not a great run defender as he sometimes sets the edge too wide and can’t defeat run blocks with regularity. He’s also a hair slow off the snap at times which can be just enough to tip the scales in the offensive lineman’s favor, putting Clemons at an immediate disadvantage.
His height may also be a detriment as he can play too upright at times and his long legs aren’t conducive to rapidly changing directions in tight spaces. But with some coaching, some seasoning, and a bit of training, Micheal Clemons could become an NFL starter and contribute to a successful NFL defense. And for someone being selected on day three of the NFL Draft, that’s about all you can hope for. The Carolina Panthers would likely be happy to select him late in the 2022 NFL Draft.