By Johnny Falduto
Week 1 of the NFL season is officially in the books, which means it's time to highlight the top-performing former Tigers from across the league’s opening weekend.
Clemson had 37 former players on 53-man rosters to begin the season, the sixth-most of any school in the country- trailing only Alabama (57), Georgia (49), Ohio State (48), LSU (43), and Michigan (38). Of those 37, 29 saw game-action over the weekend, and 6 rookies suited up for their NFL debut.
Former Tigers on Offense
Trevor Lawrence completed 24 of 32 passes (75 CMP%) for 241 YDS, 2 TD and 1 INT, and Travis Etienne rushed for 77 YDS and 1 TD on 18 CAR (4.3 YDS/CAR) and had 5 REC for another 27 YDS to fuel the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 31-21 victory over the Colts in Indianapolis.
Deshaun Watson completed 16-29 passes (55.2 CMP%) for 154 YDS, 1 TD and 1 INT and rushed for 45 YDS on 5 CAR and 1 TD to lead the Browns to a dominant 24-3 win over Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, and OG John Simpson was the highest-graded offensive player (87.2 per PFF) for the Baltimore Ravens as they beat the Texans 25-9.
DeAndre Hopkins was targeted 13 times and totaled 65 YDS on 7 REC (9.3 YDS/REC) in a 16-15 loss to the Saint in his Tennessee Titans debut, and Chargers WR Mike Williams caught 4 of his 5 targets for 45 YDS in a 36-34 loss to the Miami Dolphins in a thriller.
Former Tigers on Defense
With as many big-name former Clemson Tigers as there are on the defensive line in the NFL, it was safeties Jayron Kearse and K’Von Wallace who put together the two most impressive individual performances of the league’s opening weekend on defense. Kearse’s 7 tackles were the second-most of any player on the Cowboys' defense in their 40-0 rout of the New York Giants, and Wallace also recorded 7 tackles and added 2 passes defended in a 20-16 loss to the Washington Commanders. Also in the loss to Washington, Cardinals DT and former Tiger Carlos Watkins recorded 5 tackles and his first sack of the season.
Giants DT Dexter Lawrence (4 TKL), Falcons DT Grady Jarrett (3 TKL, 0.5 sack), and Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins (3 TKL) all had low-production weeks compared to what they are used to, but we expect their names to be regularly featured in this piece as they move throughout the season,