Andrew Booth doesn’t participate in Clemson Pro Day, will undergo surgery

CLEMSON, S.C. — While it wasn’t the extravaganza it’s been in recent years, Clemson’s Pro Day on Thursday showcased several former Tigers vying to be drafted next month.

The Tigers’ most notable prospect is cornerback Andrew Booth, a Dacula native who’s a potential first-round pick. But Booth didn’t participate in Clemson’s Pro Day and is set to undergo surgery on a core muscle next week, he told reporters Thursday. Booth also didn’t test at the NFL scouting combine because of a hamstring injury. His situation could push him a little further down the board than expected.

Booth is considered Clemson’s only potential first-round pick. The Tigers had at least one player selected in the first round over the past three drafts, so that streak could be in jeopardy. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne, both drafted by Jacksonville, were first-round Tigers last year.

Tough testing for Justyn Ross

Clemson receiver Justyn Ross (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) is among the draft’s wild cards. Ross, a former five-star recruit, was incredibly productive in 2018-19. In his first season, he had 1,000 receiving yards with nine touchdowns. He followed with an 865-yard, eight-touchdown campaign. Ross had 112 receptions over his first two seasons (28 games).

Ross looked like a budding superstar and the next individual to join Clemson’s long list of top NFL receivers. But Ross required neck surgery that cost him the 2020 season. He returned last season, missing three games because of a stress fracture in his foot, and had 514 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games.

“There’s a hell of a lot more (to me than what I showed in 2021),” Ross said. He acknowledged he rarely felt like himself throughout last season because of the injuries.

But Ross said he felt healthy again at the scouting combine, where he met with teams and underwent medical evaluations but didn’t participate in drills.

“(My health) is going to be a concern (for teams),” Ross said. “I feel like they’ve talked to my doctor, and they know how healthy I am. I’m 100% confident in myself, and I feel good.”

Ross’ measurables were underwhelming Thursday, with a 4.63 40-yard dash and 31.5-inch vertical jump (Ross said he had been running in the area of 4.5 while training). He did, however, perform well in receiver drills. He felt he showed teams he can produce outside and in the slot.

The early version of Ross looked like a future first-round pick. He’s likely a Day 3 selection now, but Ross believes he proved himself well above that draft slot.

“I’m a big guy, a winner, been winning my whole career and at Clemson,” Ross said. “I can move around and play every (receiver) position on the field.”

Nolan Turner a winner

Safety Nolan Turner helped his case quite a bit. He showed excellent athletic ability, running a 4.44 40-yard dash with a 37.5-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump. Turner isn’t a certainty to be drafted, but he might’ve impressed enough to hear his name called sometime during Day 3. He’s also been a productive special-teams player, which will aid his case to make a roster.

“I think (I’ve earned the chance to be drafted),” said Turner, 24. “I came out here and proved I was athletic enough. I have the tape. At the end of the day, I think I have the speed and athleticism to play at the next level.”

Mario Goodrich still dealing with injury

Mario Goodrich was the only ACC cornerback to receive better than an 80 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus last year. He made a last-minute decision to run the 40-yard dash Thursday. He ran a 4.57 after running a 4.52 at the combine.

Goodrich is still dealing with an injury to his ribs sustained at the Senior Bowl. It forced him out of training for “four to five weeks,” he said. He reaggravated the injury while running the 40 at the combine. Goodrich is projected as a Day 3 selection.

Booth and Goodrich have enjoyed going through the pre-draft process together.

“We talked about what teams will ask you in interviews, giving each other pointers and making sure we have the right things down, what we’ll say about our defense,” Goodrich said. “It’s been pretty cool (going through the process with Booth).”

Steelers love Clemson

While this Clemson Pro Day didn’t attract its usual parade of NFL personnel, there were still plenty on hand. The Steelers had multiple representatives, including coach Mike Tomlin, who had lengthy conversations during the workouts with Tigers coach Dabo Swinney. Tomlin watched Clemson’s practice Wednesday.

Ross mentioned the Steelers as one team that has shown a lot of interest. “I’ve been talking to the Steelers a lot,” he said. “(Tomlin) is a really good dude. I’d love to play for him.”

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