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NFL Draft Prospect Preview - Nate Wiggins

by J.T. Toth

Photo courtesy of Clemson Tigers.


At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.


Today’s Spotlight - Clemson, Cornerback, Nate Wiggins


Name - Nate Wiggins

Pos - CB

Team - Clemson

HT/WT - 6’2” 185 lbs.

Born- 8/28/2003

Home – Atlanta, GA


Nate Wiggins originally attended Grady High School in Atlanta before transferring to Westlake High School for his senior year. He excelled at both wide receiver and cornerback, though he was primarily recruited as a corner. At the conclusion of his high school career, he was selected to play in the 2021 All-American Bowl. His stellar play skyrocketed him into being a 4-star recruit and the nation's #7 overall cornerback. He committed to LSU but later flipped to Clemson just 4 days before signing day.


Wiggins did not start off on the right foot with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney who called Wiggins immature for some of his off the field actions. He went on to only play in 4 games and collected 2 tackles and 2 passes defended that season.


Last season, Wiggins entered his sophomore campaign with high expectations after he received praise from coaches and teammates for his maturation during the offseason. He did not let his teammates down, starting 11 of 13 games for the Tigers and tallying 29 tackles, 13 passes defended and 1 interception (which was a 98-yard touchdown return in the ACC Championship game). He was rewarded by being named to the All-ACC first team and had NFL teams place him on their radar.


This season, Wiggins started 10 games for Clemson, missing 2 with an injury. He picked up where he left off in 2022 with shutdown play on the corner for the Tigers. He finished the year with 29 tackles, 6 passes defended, 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. He was again named to the All-ACC first team for his solid play. After the season ended, Nate Wiggins announced he was foregoing his senior season to enter the NFL Draft.


Nate Wiggins has long limbs and solid height and uses his attributes well when manning the cornerback position. His athleticism is what separates him from other top corners, especially his fluid motion in and out of breaks. He has long quick strides which helps mirror the best receivers in deep ball situations. What makes him special, however, is his straight line speed and ability to change direction. He can and will line up against the other teams' best receivers and is the fastest guy on the Clemson Tigers. He uses his closing speed to disrupt screens and other plays that start from behind the line of scrimmage and in the run game, he is willing to come up and cause some havoc. He should be able to put on a show at the combine.


On the downside, Wiggins is not a physical presence and doesn’t jam receivers coming off the line, nor is he a proficient tackler. Often, he fails to wrap up a runner and thus fails sometimes to bring them down. He does more damage in the run game with his speed, causing the runner to cut back or change direction. His competitiveness leads to grabbing receivers early in their routes if he feels threatened. He loves the man-to-man battles but struggles in zone coverage and tends to not read and react as well when in zone. And if possible, he may consider adding weight to his 185 pound frame if it won’t jeopardize his speed.


Draft 412 thinks 2022 first round pick Sauce Gardner is a comparable cornerback to Nate Wiggins. Though Draft 412 thinks Gardner has the higher ceiling, Wiggins plays the same style. Both are long-limbed cornerbacks who can fly while neither are not the most dependable of tacklers. Wiggins won’t enter the draft with as much fanfare as Sauce did, but don’t be surprised to see him selected in round one.


Strengths

  • Athleticism

  • Length

  • Man-to-man

  • Speed

Weaknesses

  • Physicality

  • Tackling

  • Penalties

  • Zone reads


Final Analysis


Nate Wiggins entering the draft has put him at or near the top of 2024 cornerback prospects. Draft 412 believes with his speed and athleticism, he will use the combine to only strengthen his position in this draft.


Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 1st round

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