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Clemons, a fifth-round draft pick out of Clemson in 2009, started all 16 games last year and had 96 tackles (69 solo), two interceptions and one forced and fumble recovery. During his four-year career he has racked up 186 tackles (144 solo), three interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 1.5 sacks.
During his rookie season, Clemons was a force on special teams and gradually worked his way into the secondary rotation. Then in 2010 he teamed up with Pro Bowl veteran strong safety Yeremiah Bell and showed signs of promise, racking up 61 tackles (51 solo), 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and an interception to go long with five passes defensed.
But injuries plagued Clemons’ third season in 2011 and he managed just 13 tackles (11 solo) in limited action. He already was developing a rapport with Jones by then and when Bell left via free agency and signed with the New York Jets last season, Clemons took his place. The two combined for 194 tackles (146 solo), with Jones racking up 95 tackles (74 solo), four interceptions and a sack.
Now Ireland can focus on building up the cornerback position during the rest of free agency and in next month’s NFL Draft.