The Kansas City Chiefs made an addition to their receiver corps on Saturday afternoon, selecting Clemson wide out Cornell Powell in the fifth round (No. 181 overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Here are five things to know about the former Clemson Tiger.
1. Powell put together a breakout season in 2020.
The 23-year-old Powell exploded onto the scene last season, taking advantage of a larger role after four years of playing as part of a loaded group of wide receivers at Clemson.
As a fifth-year senior, he racked up 53 grabs for 882 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 16.6 yards-per-reception and smashing his previous career bests. In total, Powell finished his college career with 93 receptions for 1,211 yards and 10 scores.
2. He's a physical receiver who possesses impressive body control at the catch point.
The six-foot-tall, 210-pound Powell plays a strong brand of football. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, he hauled in seven contested catches on passes thrown at least 10 yards downfield in 2020.
Dane Brugler wrote the following about Powell in his pre-draft analysis:
"He owns a muscular physique…Well-timed eyes and hands at the catch point, naturally finding the football out of his breaks."
Brugler also noted that Powell's physicality translated to his blocking, too.
3. Powell was a big-play candidate last season.
With four grabs of 50+ yards in 2020, Powell tallied 362 "deep yards" – or throws of 20+ yards – which ranked 23rd in the nation, per PFF. He recorded at least one catch of 20+ yards in seven of his final eight games for the Tigers, including a 65-yard touchdown against Virginia Tech and a 70-yard grab vs. Pittsburgh.
His 16.6 yards-per-catch led all Clemson wide receivers last season.
4. He left a considerable impression on the Clemson coaching staff.
Powell's five years on campus allowed for significant growth, culminating in his breakout campaign last season. Here's what Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney had to say about Powell after hearing that his former wide receiver was heading to Kansas City:
"The Chiefs are getting a young man of commitment and perseverance, a young man that has finally put it all together and is just hungry to go continue what he finished his career with last year. There is a drive and hunger to him that I think is special. It is fun to see a guy that finally puts it all together, whether it be overcoming injuries, opportunity, or the technical aspect of the game. He did that…The light has come on bright for him. There is a hunger, and again, there is a spirit of confidence to him that I think will separate him on this next step."
5. Powell grew up in Greenville, North Carolina.
A multi-sport star at J.H. Rose High School, Powell was one of the top players in the state on both the gridiron and the hardwood. Here's more on Powell's ridiculous numbers, courtesy of Brugler:
"He finished his prep career with 203 catches for 4,301 yards and 68 touchdowns. Powell was a four-year starter on the basketball team, finishing his career with 1,310 points and 604 rebounds (17.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game)."
That athleticism led to a ton of scholarship offers, and after five years at Clemson, Powell is headed to the heartland to join the two-time defending AFC champions.