Carolina Panthers

Potential Panthers targets sidelined at Clemson. Dabo urges teams to ‘watch the tape’

Dabo Swinney discusses the importance of game film for players

Clemson coach discusses evaluating why players should evaluate game film, especially players who couldn't participate in pro day drills.
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Clemson coach discusses evaluating why players should evaluate game film, especially players who couldn't participate in pro day drills.

Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant watched as nearly two dozen of their former teammates went through a gauntlet of drills in front of nearly 100 pro football personnel Thursday at Clemson’s pro day.

Injuries kept both defensive ends sidelined — a torn pectoral muscle for Bryant and turf toe for Ferrell — but any negative impact may be more sentimental than anything. As far as their draft stock goes, there’s enough tape on either player for NFL teams to evaluate.

At least, that’s the impression Bryant is under.

“I put two years of good film out there,” he said Thursday. “At the end of the day, I don’t think teams are going to draft a guy based on what he did in underwear and shorts. Everybody that’s getting evaluated or drafted — 90 percent of it is what you put on film. I’ve done my 90 percent.

“Evaluators, my agent — people that I confide in — they told me that people really don’t care (about not doing drills). Actually, it’s been a plus to see a guy play with a torn (pectoral) at my position and use that arm every single play ... it’s actually been more of a positive than a negative.”

Bryant played the final seven games of Clemson’s season with a pectoral muscle that was “torn from the bone,” but said the NFL teams he’s spoken with were impressed that he recorded better numbers on a per-game basis over that span than he did in the Tigers’ first nine games.

He said his recovery from surgery in January is ahead of schedule, and he still plans on being cleared for full contact around NFL training camp. Bryant said he may host a mock pro day before the draft, depending on what his physicians clear him to do.

Until then, his old head coach has a wants NFL teams to keep doing the only thing they can with the likely mid-round pick.

“Just watch the tape,” Dabo Swinney said. “That’s why people make so many mistakes, because they make so many decisions on measurables and you forget you’ve got to be able to play the game. Usually, guys don’t change their stripes — that’s just the way I see it.

Ferrell said he aggravated a turf toe injury that he played through half of the 2018 season. A potential pick for the Carolina Panthers at No. 16 overall, based on team need and prospect availability, Ferrell told reporters he was disappointed not to be able to take the field in some capacity with his former teammates on the turf they spent the past few years on.

But sitting out of drills didn’t stop him from scheduling official visits, including one with the Panthers.

Between the two of them, Ferrell and Bryant combined for 89 games played and 296 tackles - including 87.5 for a loss and 48 sacks. There’s film of every, single one.

It’s safe to say, missing out on one day in underwear and shorts won’t bury them.

Marcel Louis-Jacques covers the Carolina Panthers for the Charlotte Observer, keeping you on top of Panthers news both on the field and behind the scenes. He is a 2014 graduate of Arizona State University and grew up in Sacramento, California.