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No. 1 overall selection Trevor Lawrence headlines ACC’s first-round NFL Draft picks

trevor lawrence
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence rolls out to pass in first-half action in the Tigers’ 42-17 win over Miami. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s first round of the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland, leading a contingent of six ACC players selected in the first round.

Lawrence was picked first by the Jacksonville Jaguars and becomes the third ACC player to be selected No. 1 overall, joining Jameis Winston (2015, Florida State) and Mario Williams (2006, NC State).

The 2021 ACC Player of the Year, Lawrence went 34-2 as the Tigers’ starting quarterback and never lost a regular-season game. He is the only quarterback to win three ACC Championship Games and ranks third in league history with 90 touchdowns. Lawrence’s career 164.26 pass efficiency mark is a league record, and he is just the sixth player in conference history to throw for 10,000 yards.

Miami defensive end Jaelan Phillips was taken with the 18th pick by the Dolphins and will remain in the Magic City as a professional. In his lone season with the Hurricanes, Phillips was second in the ACC with 15.5 tackles for loss and third with eight sacks. He was the only player in the league to finish in the top three in both categories. Miami has now had at least one player selected in every NFL Draft since 1974, a string of 47 consecutive years, the longest current streak in the ACC.

Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley was selected by the Tennessee Titans 22nd overall. A first-team All-ACC performer in 2019, Farley led the league with 16 passes defended, including 12 pass breakup and four interceptions.

One pick later, the second straight Virginia Tech player was picked when Minnesota landed Hokie offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw at No. 23. It is the third time Virginia Tech has produced multiple first round picks (2004 and 2018). Darrisaw was a first-team All-ACC performer and second-team All-America selection in 2020 as the Hokies led the league with 240.1 rushing yards per game.

Clemson running back Travis Etienne was chosen 25th overall by Jacksonville, where he will reunite with his college teammate Lawrence in the offensive backfield. The ACC’s all-time leading rusher, Etienne was the 2018 and 2019 ACC Player of the Year. He also set conference career marks for touchdowns (78), rushing touchdowns (70) and points (468).

Gregory Rousseau, the 2019 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year from Miami, was selected 30th overall by Buffalo. Rousseau led the league in sacks two years ago and joins Phillips as the first Miami defensive linemen selected in the first round since 2007.

Rounds two and three of the 2021 NFL Draft will begin Friday at 7 p.m.

ACC 2021 NFL Draft: First Rounders

  • 1st, Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • 18th, Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami, Miami Dolphins
  • 22nd, Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech, Tennessee Titans
  • 23rd, Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech, Minnesota Vikings
  • 25th, Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • 30th, Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami, Buffalo Bills

ACC NFL Draft Notes

  • Current ACC teams have had a total of 10 players chosen as the first overall selection in the NFL Draft. Prior to tonight, the most recent was Florida State’s Jameis Winston, who was tabbed first in 2015 by the Tampa Bay Bucs. Miami (Vinny Testaverde, 1987, Tampa Bay; and Russell Maryland, 1991, Dallas) and Virginia Tech (Bruce Smith, 1985, Buffalo; and Michael Vick, 2001, Atlanta) each had two top selections while Clemson (Trevor Lawrence, 2021 Jaguars), Florida State (Jameis Winston, 2015, Bucs), NC State (Mario Williams, 2006, Texans), Virginia (Bill Dudley, 1942, Steelers) and Syracuse (Ernie Davis, 1962, Redskins) each had one. Also, NC State’s Roman Gabriel, the No. 2 overall selection in the 1962 draft, was chosen No. 1 in the AFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.
  • Lawrence adds to the rich talent of ACC quarterbacks already in the NFL. Last year, the ACC led the country with 13 quarterbacks making at least one NFL start in 2020 – Boston College’s Matt Ryan (Falcons), Clemson’s Deshaun Watson (Texans), Duke’s Daniel Jones (NY Giants), Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (Ravens) and Teddy Bridgewater (Panthers), North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky (Bears), NC State’s Mike Glennon (Jaguars), Philip Rivers (Colts), Russell Wilson (Seahawks) and Ryan Finley (Cincinnati), Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor (Chargers) and Wake Forest’s Kendall Hinton (Broncos) and John Wolford (Rams).
  • Lawrence is Clemson’s first No. 1 pick in program history. Prior to tonight, the Tigers’ highest pick was No. 4 on four occasions, most recently defensive end Clelin Ferrell in 2019.
  • Lawrence and Etienne are the 14th and 15th first-round selection from Clemson in the 13 seasons under head coach Dabo Swinney. Clemson produced a total of 18 first-round selections in the previous 42 seasons of the Common Draft Era (since 1967).
  • Christian Darrisaw is the first Virginia Tech offensive player to be selected in the first round since running back David Wilson in 2012.
  • Virginia Tech has had a player selected in the 27 consecutive NFL Drafts.

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