I don’t know if Clemson Tigers Head Coach Dabo Sweeney put in a good word, but the Oakland Raiders have added two Tigers just four picks into the 2019 NFL Draft.
Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock got the party started Thursday night when they selected premier pass rusher Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick and followed it up with running back Josh Jacobs at No. 24 and safety Johnathan Abram at No. 27.
When Day Two started, the Silver and Black were originally supposed to be the third team to make their choice with the No. 35 pick, but after trading back with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills they didn’t pick until No. 40. With the Raiders’ second-round pick, the team selected Ferrell’s college teammate, cornerback Trayvon Mullen. The Clemson Tiger had an impressive performance during the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship game, which Mayock happened to be in attendance for.
The opportunity to join forces with his Tiger brethren at the NFL level is something Mullen is looking forward to, and he’s eager to hit the field with his fellow 2019 draftmates.
“It means a lot being a member of the Oakland Raiders, getting a chance to get with [Head] Coach [Jon] Gruden and them, and [General Manager] Mike [Mayock], the GM,” Mullen told the media via conference call. “Those guys are great guys. They brought me up on the visit. They took the opportunity to draft me. They are going to get a great player especially with me and Clelin and even [Johnathan] Jon Abram, because that’s like my best friend man. Us guys getting together is going to be awesome.”
Mullen spent three seasons at Clemson, winning the CFP National Championship twice. He played in 32 games, totaled 93 tackles, four-and-a-half tackles for loss, two sacks, four interceptions, and seven passes defensed. While his body of work speaks for itself, he thinks his one interception, one sack, and six tackle performance improved his draft stock because it showed that he’s capable of playing his best under the bright lights.
“I think it did a lot,” Mullen said when asked about whether his championship performance helped him stand out. “Just the way I went out there and showed the world the elite player that I am, how confident I am, how strong and physical I am and just showing my capability and the type of good athlete I am. I believe that game played a big role. I was really excited after that game. It motivated me a lot to even make my decision to coming out early.”
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native was on Mayock’s draft board that day on, and the Raiders general manager was fired up when he selected him at No. 40 overall.
“We’re excited to get Trayvon, another Clemson player,” Mayock said during his press conference following Day Two of the 2019 NFL Draft. “He had a great national championship game, he’s a long corner 6’1”, almost 6’2”. About 190 pounds, ran in the 4.4 [second range]. We love his length, he fits in Paul Guenther’s defense to a T. Long press corner that runs and we’re really excited about this kid’s upside.”
Mullen will join a secondary featuring former first-round pick Gareon Conley, and on opposite sides of the field they could offer great range and length, setting up a quality tandem for years to come.