Clemson’s Spector Selected by Bills on Day 3 of 2022 NFL Draft
CLEMSON, S.C. — The Buffalo Bills selected Clemson linebacker Baylon Spector in the seventh round (No. 231 overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft on Saturday.
Spector was a two-year starter at weakside linebacker from 2020-21 during his five-year Clemson tenure. The two-time All-ACC Academic team honoree played 53 games with 21 starts and finished his career credited with 210 tackles (22.0 for loss), 9.0 sacks, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, three pass breakups and an interception in 1,456 defensive snaps.
“Baylon Spector, as you saw at the Combine, can really run. You don’t see many guys his size that can run like that,” Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney said. “Very athletic. Baylon is a true Will [linebacker] that can really cover and play on the edge but also can move in and play Mike. I think that he’s got outstanding Day 1 potential with his size, with his speed, with his experience, with his knowledge of the game, but also his ability to be a Day 1 starter on special teams on all core teams. Another graduate, a fifth-year player that has a ton of championship experience that he’ll bring with him.”
Along with the Vikings’ selection of cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. in the second round on Friday, Clemson’s newest additions to the NFL extended the Tigers’ streak of consecutive drafts with at least one selection to 20 since 2003, representing the second-longest streak in school history behind a 24-year streak across the 1951-74 NFL Drafts. Clemson has produced multiple selections in each draft in its active 20-year streak.
With Clemson’s pair of selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, Swinney pushed his career total for draft picks in his head coaching tenure to 71. His 71 draft picks produced are the second-most by any coach in the nation — active or inactive — since the 2009 NFL Draft. Swinney’s 17 defensive backs selected in that span also rank second nationally.
A number of Clemson standouts will now enter the priority free agent pool. Among the group is wide receiver Justyn Ross, whose remarkable comeback from injury earned him a share of the ACC’s 2021 Brian Piccolo Award given to the conference’s most courageous player(s). Ross finished his collegiate career with 2,379 yards and 20 touchdowns; only nine of the 28 wide receivers selected in the 2022 NFL Draft reached both the 2,000-yard and 20-touchdown marks for their careers.
Notes on the selection of Baylon Spector:
- Spector became the 71st player to have played for Head Coach Dabo Swinney to be drafted into the NFL, including the sixth seventh-round pick of Swinney’s tenure.
- Spector became the 30th Clemson linebacker selected in the Common Draft era and the sixth Clemson linebacker selected since 2015.
- Spector became the first Clemson linebacker to be selected in the seventh round since eventual All-Rookie selection Kavell Conner was selected by the Colts in the seventh round in the 2010 NFL Draft. Conner served as an unpaid coaching intern on Clemson’s staff last season and is now in a defensive player development role at Clemson.
- Spector became the second Clemson player ever to be selected with the No. 231 overall pick in an NFL Draft, joining LB O.J. Childress (Giants, 1999). The Houston Oilers selected T Ron Osborne with the No. 231 overall pick in the 1962 AFL Draft.
- Spector became the 13th player to be selected by the Bills in a professional draft, including two selections in the AFL Draft, one selection in the AFL Redshirt Draft and 10 selections in the NFL Draft. Previous Bills selections from Clemson include T Lou Cordileone (1960 AFL), T Harold Olson (1960 AFL), T John Boyette (1965 AFL Redshirt), WR Jerry Butler (1979), WR Perry Tuttle (1982), RB C.J. Spiller (2010), T Chris Hairston (2011), S Jonathan Meeks (2013), WR Sammy Watkins (2014), LB Tony Steward (2015), DE Shaq Lawson (2016) and WR Ray-Ray McCloud (2018).
- Spector’s selection following Andrew Booth’s selection on Friday represented the third time in four years that Clemson’s first two players selected in a draft have come from the defense.
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