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Combine notebook: Clemson corner Nate Wiggins hoping to prove doubters wrong

Nate Wiggins

INDIANAPOLIS— Cornerback Nate Wiggins has formally met with the Panthers, the Clemson product shared on Thursday.

Wiggins has first-round talent and could easily be one of the early corners taken off the board. If the board worked in the Panther's favor, though, to bring in Wiggins, the club would supplement a unit set at starter but hungry for depth.

For Wiggins' part, the chance to play in an Ejiro Evero defense is enticing and good use of what he sees as his best traits.

"I think the fit would be good for me," Wiggins said. "They run mostly man, and I'm a man corner…I feel like that's my best game. Man-to-man, look them in the eye.

"It's right down by Clemson. I already have a lot of relationships. That would be great."

While at Clemson, Wiggins played for three years. As a starter in 2022 and 2023, Wiggins accumulated 58 tackles, 17 passes defended, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a sack. The Combine is an opportunity to showcase individual skills, and Wiggins hopes to impress with his speed. Actually, he's hoping to set the record straight.

"I don't know what they looking at. I don't know who they're looking at," Wiggins said of his estimated 4.5 time in the 40-yard dash. "Every time I go in a meeting, they say 4.5, I just laugh."

He also knows that at 185 pounds, he'll have to put on more weight. The goal is to be at 192 or 193 by the time to play.

Quinyon Mitchell

Mitchell's loyalty paying off in NFL meetings

Quinyon Mitchell is another corner with top-end talent who could be the victim of a top-heavy offensive draft. If the corner falls, it will be considered a steal. Mitchell, though, feels like he has only one mission this week in Indianapolis and the NFL.

"I didn't come here to be mediocre. I came here to break records."

Mitchell was a 4-year starter at Toledo with a resume that would have made him a hot commodity in the transfer portal. But he was determined to stay loyal. Coming out of high school in the small town of Williston, Florida, Mitchell had some "grade problems" that caused Power 5 schools to pull their offers. Toledo stayed committed to Mitchell, and in return, he stayed committed to them for his entire career. It's something teams have noted in their meetings this week.

"I think that's come up in every meeting, so I just gave them that same answer," Mitchell said Thursday. "Toledo stayed loyal, so I stayed loyal to them…I represent the MAC (conference) with my whole heart."

Mitchell has the chance to represent Toledo and the Mid-American Conference well this week. The former track star is projected to run a 40-yard dash time in the 4.3 range. According to The Athletic, he reached a top speed of 23.58 miles per hour last season. Beyond his speed, though, Mitchell hopes his ball skills jump out to teams. In his final season, he had only one interception, as quarterbacks avoided him, but in 2022, he had five.

Asked about his best attributes, Mitchell said, "Just my ball skills. Intercepting the ball, breaking the ball, bringing the ball up, playing through the hands, not panicking downfield. I say that's my top trait.

"The ball's going to get you paid. At the Senior Bowl, I learned every ball in the air is worth $2.5 million, so just trying to get that money."

Max Melton

"Mad Max" can step in at nickel for a future defense

While at Rutgers, Max Melton adopted the motto "Keep chopping." It sounds remarkably familiar to a certain Panthers rally cry and sets the same precedent. Melton will look to keep chopping or pounding or any other synonyms this week as he works out for teams in Indianapolis.

The corner primarily played outside while at Rutgers. His final season saw him accumulate 32 tackles, four for loss, one sack, three interceptions, nine passes defended, and a forced fumble with recovery. Yet most teams this week have expressed an interest in Melton playing nickel in the NFL due to his body type and willingness to hit.

"It was a fun position. I got to blitz and all that. But they were definitely identifying me. Really, most of the teams I talk to are like, 'How do you feel about playing inside? That's where we see you at."

"If you turn on the film, you will see, I like to hit, and nickel, you're going to be in the run fit, so you're going to have to hit."

When someone turns on the film, they're also going to see a four-year starter at gunner, and someone who has four blocked punts in their career. And while he didn't do much returning in college, Melton also testifies he can be an effective returner.

"I can return too; I didn't get to show that in college, but I can definitely return," Melton said. "So, I look forward to doing that in the Pros as well, but I'm definitely everywhere on the field."

View throwback photos of cornerback Donte Jackson at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.

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