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Rare is the day a team converts a freshman All-American to another position, but Clemson's top-shelf stock of defensive line talent helped guide that decision with Wilkins.
His success in making that move is a testament not only to his unique talent but the remarkable depth which led the team to playoff berths each of his four seasons, including national championships two of the past three seasons.
The 6-3, 300 pounds Wilkins looks the part of an everyday defensive tackle. His initial quickness, agility, instincts and unrelenting motor are common defensive end traits. Wilkins earned All-American honors again in 2016 only to move back inside as a junior and senior, culminating in a 2018 campaign in which he registered a career-high 14 tackles and 5.5 sacks, among his 51 overall stops.
Wilkins has a short, stumpy frame well-suited to playing inside at defensive tackle, with excellent natural athleticism. Wilkins wins with initial quickness to split gaps and possesses the lateral agility and balance of a much smaller man, showing enough burst to cross the face of tackles when slid outside, record tackles while covering punts or converting fake punts on designed passes (2015) and runs (2016) for first downs - each of which he has accomplished during his Clemson career.
Wilkins complements his light steps with uncommon coordination between his hands and feet, marrying the two to slip, slide and wiggle his way out of blocks and pursuing laterally and downfield with reckless abandon. Wilkins possesses remarkable hand-eye coordination, snaking out an arm to trip up ballcarriers seemingly out of his grasp and timing his leap to tip passes at the line of scrimmage - including a school record (for defensive ends) 10 in 2016.
Blessed with first-round athleticism, Wilkins plays like an undrafted free agent trying to make the team, pursuing laterally and downfield with passion and playing on three different special teams units.
Projection: First Round
--Field Level Media