Clemson coach Dabo Swinney spoked to more than 100 NFL executives, coaches and scouts before the school’s Pro Day on Thursday.
“I always take time in the morning to address the group,” Swinney said. “It’s like when I go and recruit, I want to know where they are coming from. They are going to bring that with them. Good or bad, they are bringing it with them.
“Then it’s our job to meet them where ever they are and help them. It’s the same thing.”
Swinney doesn’t just want the NFL folks to leave with their notebooks just full of heights, weights and 40-yard dash times.
“I want them to know where the (players) are coming from and kind of some of the core values of our program,” Swinney said. “At the end of the day, I love my guys and I want to support them.”
Swinney was seen talking at length with Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and with a scout from the Chicago Bears during the workouts. They were seeking background information on a few of the players.
Swinney said Clemson has had over 90 players drafted or signed as free agents over the past 11 years by NFL teams.
“(Seventy) percent of them have made the roster and there’s a reason why that’s happened,” Swinney said. “That’s kind of what I always talk to this group about in the morning, not just the player, but what they’ve been exposed to culture-wise, program-wise and that they are more than just football players. They are getting a lot more.
“I always tell them, if it’s close, take the guy from Clemson, he’s going to make you better and he’s going to make the team.”
Swinney is most proud of the longshots who’ve made it in the NFL like Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who was a fifth-round pick and was lightly recruited coming out of high school. He currently has the team’s franchise tag, which is worth $15.2 million.
“Any old jackleg can pick the Sammy Watkins and Deshaun Watsons,” Swinney said. “I take a lot of pride in the Grady Jarretts, the Jaron Browns, the Charone Peaks, the Adam Humphries and the Tyler Shatleys.”
Humphries, a wide receiver, just signed a four-year deal with $36 million with the Titans.
“I love that,” Swinney said. “Our guys are making it. We have examples from all levels.”