NFL Draft May Help Decide if Clemson’s National Championship Team is Really the ‘Best Ever’

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates with the national championship trophy after the Tigers beat Alabama during the 2019 College Football Playoff Championship game. (Photo: Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports)

Only Clemson, a college football program that possessed the audacity to elbow its way into the bluebloods and beat Alabama twice in national championship games, could get away with calling its 2018 season the “Best Ever.”

But it’s right there, forever carved into the rings Clemson distributed to its players after becoming the first modern-era college football team to ever put together a 15-0 season.

“Best Ever.”

Best ever?

“They did things that had never been done at Clemson and even in college football,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday at the College Football Hall of Fame after a ceremony to accept the MacArthur Bowl trophy that goes to the national champions. “So do they have a claim? Absolutely. Can somebody debate it? Sure. That’s what makes the world go ‘round. But I like to tell everybody my opinion is they’re the best ever — so far.”

Whether that claim stands the test of time, however, could very well hinge on what happens beginning tonight in the NFL draft where Swinney expects Clemson to be represented by three first-rounders and as many as 10 total draft picks.

How former Clemson players end up performing as professionals is neither a precise nor fair measurement of where their college team stacks up historically. But in a sense, it is going to be incumbent on players like Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence and Hunter Renfrow to keep burnishing the résumé, even after their collegiate work is done.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Dan Wolken