Clemson’s Vic Beasley went from a high school running back to a college tight end, then a linebacker, and then a defensive end.
The future first-round pick will likely be moving back to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense in the NFL. That change doesn’t bother Beasley, and at least one coach doesn’t think it will matter after watching him Thursday at the Tigers’ pro day.
“Beasley’s going to be whatever he wants to be. I always try to classify guys, and he’s a class five mutant meaning whatever he does, he’ll be great,” said former Clemson defensive lineman and current Arizona Cardinals defensive line coach Brentson Buckner. “He has the intangibles. He’s fast, he plays hard, got a quiet demeanor but it’s Jekyll and Hyde. You see him with the helmet on and you get Dr. Jekyll. Take it off and he’s mild-mannered. He’s going to be whatever he wants to be. He comes here as a running back, moves to tight end, goes to play defense and adapts to whatever the environment is.”
After a stellar combine performance that vaulted him into the top-10 conversation, Beasley showed up to pro day to do more linebacker drills. Beasley spent his final two years with the Tigers as their top defensive end, but his 246-pound frame coupled with his 4.53-second 40-yard dash make him better suited as an outside linebacker.
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“I didn’t get to showcase as much as I wanted to at the combine and they wanted to see more of me dropping into space,” Beasley said. “I feel like I elevated my level as a linebacker.”
In linebacker drills Thursday, Beasley ran as if he were covering a wheel route out of the backfield. He made an impressive, leaping interception along the sideline that drew an audible reaction from the scouts in attendance.
“(I thought) I should have left him at tight end when I saw him catch that ball,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said later.
Beasley woke up at 4 a.m. Thursday to come to Clemson’s facilities to get his mind off a rough week. Beasley’s uncle, John, died of cancer on Sunday. Beasley was less than two days removed from his uncle’s funeral, which took place in his hometown of Adairsville, Ga.
“That was pretty rough,” Beasley said. “I came in this morning and had to keep my head up. He always told me to keep my head up and do the right thing.”
Who’s who: A veritable who’s who of NFL personalities were at Clemson’s pro day. New England coach Bill Belichick, Buffalo coach Rex Ryan, Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly, New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Arizona general manager Steve Keim and Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert were all in attendance.
All 32 teams were represented by at least one scout or coach. The Panthers sent Ryan Cowden, the assistant director of college scouting for the team. A former high school quarterback and safety at Wofford, Cowden threw to defensive backs in drills.
Kicking out early: Kicker/punter Bradley Pinion is one of the few specialists to leave school early, but Swinney said he believes Pinion is ready.
The former Northwest Cabarrus High kicker averaged 42.6 yards per punt last season and had 102 touchbacks on 178 kickoffs in his career.
“I challenged him on it. I wanted to know why and what your reasons are. He had all the answers,” Swinney said. “He only lacks two classes from graduating, and he’ll get that done. As a result of that he felt he was ready to take that step. And he’s certainly good enough. I don’t have any doubt he’s going to be an NFL player.”
▪ Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett posted 33 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. He has great agility for a guy who weighs 296 pounds but can play with as much as 304 pounds.
▪ Former North Carolina player of the year Stephone Anthony, from Anson County, is creeping up people’s draft boards. The inside linebacker looked fluid in drills after good shows at both the Senior Bowl and combine.
▪ Former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was among the many Clemson alumni at pro day. Buffalo coach Rex Ryan, who signed Boyd to the Jets last season, was sure to shake hands with Boyd before he left the building.