Clemson , S.C. –Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the eighth selection of the first round of the NFL draft held in Chicago on Thursday night. Beasley was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American in 2014 when he helped Clemson lead the nation in total defense for just the second time in school history.
Beasley is the 25th Clemson player in history to be chosen in the first round of the NFL draft, the fourth in the last six years. He is the seventh Tiger in history to be chosen within the first eight picks of the draft. Among Clemson defensive players, only Gaines Adams (4th, 2007) and Jeff Bryant (6th, 1982) have been taken with a higher selection.
The native of Adairsville , Ga , a town just 50 miles from the Falcons home facility. is just the fifth Clemson player drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, the first in the first round. However, he is the second Clemson defensive end taken by the Falcons in the last three years. Malliciah Goodman was a fourth-round pick by the Falcons from Dabo Swinney’s program in 2013. Goodman just completed his second year with the franchise.
“When I saw him tonight he had a red and white suit on. I asked him about wearing those colors and he said they are the colors of the Atlanta Falcons. That is where he wanted to go and where he thought he would go.
“I am so happy for him because he wanted to play near his family. His father was so excited he could hardly stand up to hug him.
“The Falcons came up and worked him out a long time ago and we thought they were very interested.
“This is a great night for our program. With a top 10 selection last year on offense (Sammy Watkins) and a top 10 selection on defense this year, it shows our commitment on both sides of the ball. And we should have many more defensive players taken this weekend.
“Coach (Brent) Venables and ( Marion ) Hobby were both here with me at the draft and I am so proud of the job they did in developing Vic over his career. This is a guy who came to us as a running back.”
Clemson now has had a first-round draft choice three consecutive years. DeAndre Hopkins was the first-round selection of the Houston Texans in 2013, Sammy Watkins the first-round selection of the Buffalo Bills in 2014 and Beasley a first-round choice this year. It is the first time in history Clemson has had a top 10 pick in consecutive years.
Beasley is the first Clemson defensive player to be taken in the first round since Gaines Adams was the No. 4 selection of the entire draft in 2007. Like Beasley, Adams was a consensus All-American his senior year.
This is the first time since the 1997-99 drafts that Clemson has had a first round selection three consecutive years. In 1997, Trevor Pryce was the first round selection of the Denver Broncos, in 1998 Anthony Simmons was the first round selection of the Seattle Seahawks and in 1999 Antwan Edwards was the first round selection of the Green Bay Packers.
Beasley is the fourth Clemson player since Dabo Swinney became head coach in 2009 to be a first-round draft choice. He is now second in Clemson history among coaches in drafted first-round selections. Danny Ford coached seven first-rounders between 1979-89.
Beasley joins Bennie Cunningham, a tight end in 1974 and 1975, as the only Clemson players in history to be a two-time first-team All-American, a first-round draft choice and graduate from Clemson.