Born: December 20th, 1995 (23 years old)
Weight: 310 Lbs
Position: Defensive Tackle
Earlier I talked about one of the other leaders of the Clemson defensive line, but the real captain was Christian Wilkins. In the 2018 Draft, Wilkins was already widely regarded as a fringe Top 18 selection, but chose to stay in order to chase down another championship. He has now wrapped up his career at Clemson with 250 total tackles, 41 for loss, 16 sacks, 56 quarterback pressures, and even 16 pass deflections. In his time with the Tigers he was able to claim two national championships, 3x 1st Team All-ACC, 2x 1st Team All-American, the Bill Willis Trophy (2017), William V. Campbell Trophy, and the 5th player in school history to be voted an Unanimous All-American. Christian Wilkins is an amazing athlete, and a true leader in the sport that every franchise will be looking to acquire.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Extremely versatile defensive lineman, I have seen him line up all over the line, and even be a standing rusher off the edge as well. Wilkins hits you with a strong first punch, and a fast first step. He has the ability to bend and slide past defenders easily; causing all sorts of issues behind the line of scrimmage.
Wilkins doesn’t have many weaknesses or red flags, but I did notice one thing. At times, he wouldn’t go and hit his lineman but meet him with some finesse move and get washed. I only wish he learn when to use his power versus his speed, which should come with the millions of dollars he will get paid to do so.
NFL Draft Projection/NFL Comp
NFL Draft Projection
Wilkins could have left last year and been drafted in the top 15 picks, and I believe that is where his name will likely still be called. With the Panthers at 16, the Browns at 17, and the Vikings at 18, the former Tiger won’t last past 20th. Christian would fit along perfect with what Cleveland is building currently, so I love him at Pick 17. He already has the leadership to fill along their current young pieces on the defensive line.
Sometimes NFL comparisons can be tough to see when two players are exact opposites off the field. This is one, but I see a lot of Sheldon Richardson in his game. They both are versatile defensive lineman that provide a pass rush from the inside of the line. Wilkins is a great role model on and off the field, and hopefully he can be everything people saw in Sheldon Richardson from his time at Missouri.