Josh Kendall

‘By far the best’: USC linemen know Clemson defender they’d draft first

Apparently, Dexter Lawrence is so good that he eliminates the need for politically correct answers.

Former South Carolina offensive linemen Zack Bailey and Dennis Daley were asked at the NFL Combine this week which of the four former Clemson defensive linemen at the event they would draft first.

“Dexter Lawrence,” Bailey replied immediately.

“Big Dex,” Daley said just as quickly.

That may not be the consensus among professional scouts here, though. Some mock drafts suggest defensive end Clelin Ferrell or defensive tackle Christian Wilkins could be the first Tigers taken, but Bailey and Daley would go with Lawrence.

“He’s a big, strong dude,” Daley said. “He’s got strength that a lot of people don’t have.”

Lawrence, 6-foot-4, 340 pounds, had 36 tackles at Clemson during the regular season but was suspended from the College Football Playoff after testing positive for a banned substance. He will meet with the media at the Combine on Saturday. He is projected to be a first round pick in April’s draft.

“He made me have a handful, and I praise him for that,” Bailey said of Lawrence. “Me and him have a heck of a game. It was awesome and I enjoy it. I enjoyed competing against him. By far the best defensive lineman I played against all year.”

Josh Kendall has covered SEC football for almost 20 years. He has covered the Gamecocks since the 2010 season. Have a question? Shoot him an email or find him on Twitter, and he’ll be happy to respond.