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The Hype Is No Joke

But neither is Jadeveon Clowney’s subpar junior season. Once thought to be crown jewel of the 2014 NFL draft, the South Carolina defensive end has opened himself up to scrutiny about his work ethic and maturity. He doesn’t turn 21 until Valentine’s Day, but teams are going to dig deep before falling in love

By
Greg A. Bedard
· More from Greg·

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Believe the hype.

South Carolina end Jadeveon Clowney, heralded as the best NFL defensive draft prospect in more than a decade, trots out of the tunnel at Williams-Brice Stadium for pregame warm-ups before taking on blood rival Clemson on Nov. 30. And, my word, is he physically imposing.

Listed in the program at 6-6 and 274 pounds—and the eyeball test says that’s close to legit—Clowney, who doesn’t turn 21 until Valentine’s Day, looks as if he entered the NFL five years ago. He has muscles from his toes to the top of his scalp. He is rock-solid, especially in his thighs, hamstrings and butt—the nuclear reactor for a pass rusher. He is power personified, with oversized, strapping arms and enormous hands capable of doing with an offensive player whatever he wishes.

Meld together the best parts of the NFL’s most impactful edge players over the last 20 years—the natural power of Michael Strahan, the length of Julius Peppers and the speed of Jason Taylor—and you have the promise of Jadeveon Clowney.

But will he deliver?

After NFL personnel departments wrap up their postseason draft meetings and set their draft boards, they’ll fan out across the country again to dig deep on every prospect. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Clowney will be the most scrutinized players from February to early May. In many ways Clowney will be more researched and dissected. While Manziel has let everyone into every aspect of his life through social media, Clowney has only come through as a person in tightly controlled press conferences. There’s much to unearth about him, especially after an underwhelming final season: about his effort, his family and the hangers-on, and his maturity.

But greatness in the NFL usually comes down to one simple question: Are you motivated by love of the game, or by money?

“I think there’s flashes of brilliance and flashes of extreme inconsistency,” an AFC general manager says of Clowney. “I mean, it’s a boom or bust thing.”

* * *

The top-10 showdown with Clemson was supposed to be Clowney’s 2013 coming-out party. After not suiting up against Coastal Carolina, he had played just once in the previous 28 days. That should have given plenty of time for his troublesome ribs and/or ankle bone spurs (which likely need surgery) to heal. The No. 10 Gamecocks were facing the sixth-ranked Tigers, their bitter in-state rival in Clowney’s final home game. Last season Clowney had 4.5 sacks against the same opponent and the same left tackle, Brandon Thomas. It was time for him to give everyone one final glance at the player who, by the end of last season, was probably the most impressive sophomore defensive prospect in recent memory.

Yet as has been the case for most of this season, Clowney didn’t have much of an impact. On Clemson’s first touchdown he followed the fake, not realizing the run was through his gap until quarterback Tajh Boyd went by him for the easy score. Clowney had one sack in the game, but on that play he was actually blocked well by the understated yet effective Thomas; Boyd just ran into the sack. And it’s not as if Clowney was given extra attention: He was single-blocked for much of the game by Thomas, and even sometimes by a tight end.

Clowney’s most impressive play came with 6:12 left in the third quarter, when he slipped inside Thomas with a swim move and decked Boyd in just 1.82 seconds, forcing an incomplete pass. Ferocious explosiveness. And that’s what sends the tongues of NFL personnel evaluators wagging.

“When you look at him on film, he can do whatever he wants to do,” says an AFC college scouting director. “When he’s locked in and engaged … it takes such a concentrated effort to neutralize him. It opens up opportunities for others to make plays.”

Clowney’s best asset is his power. He hasn’t even developed the proper handwork needed in the NFL, and yet he’s shown the ability to overpower opponents. His first step is devastating, and he has very good quickness in a small box, able to make one move and go like few can.

clowney-combo-rush-inline800-final

That’s what happened on the hit-heard-around-the-country in the Outback Bowl against Michigan last season. Clowney was in the backfield in 1.45 seconds—just after running back Vincent Smith got the handoff—and jarred the Wolverine’s helmet off. That’s great and all, but Clowney wasn’t blocked. “It’s not like he destroyed a blocker and made that play,” the AFC director says.

Clowney isn’t a bend-around-the edge rusher like Robert Mathis, Robert Quinn, Von Miller or Aldon Smith. He is extremely stiff in the hips, a straight-line player. That’s why, in a survey of six NFL front office executives, Clowney is viewed optimally as a 4-3 left defensive end, where he can hold the edge against the tackle and/or tight end in the run and turn it loose when needed. He’ll be especially lethal when kicked inside in sub-packages to overwhelm guards.

“Strahan ran a 4.9 but had great power,” says an NFC personnel director “He was able to develop his pass rush. [Clowney will] be able to power some people and then develop as a pass rusher.”

Some old-school types feel that being a strong-side outside linebacker in a two-gap system would be best for Clowney, although the use of those schemes is dwindling because of the speed in today’s game.

“Bill Belichick would make a monster out of him,” says an NFC general manager, who likens Clowney’s physical attributes to those of former Patriots outside linebacker Willie McGinest, who was drafted fourth overall by Bill Parcells in 1994.

“Parcells would have loved to put [Clowney] at SAM linebacker outside and set that edge, and would have just loved this kid—the way he played, maybe not the kid himself,” adds the NFC personnel director.

clowney-press-conference-inline360-NEWWhat about Clowney the person?

Outwardly, he appears to be a happy-go-lucky kid with a ready smile. That can be viewed as not being serious enough about the task at hand, but that’s a bit unfair. Those who have known him for a while say Clowney is a big kid at heart, which some might use to explain how he was recently ticketed for going 110 in a 70 mph zone. It would also induce the maturity questions that are on the minds of NFL talent evaluators.

It doesn’t help that South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has mostly restricted Clowney to talking in press conferences after games. But it would be a mistake to make the leap and think that it’s correlated to Clowney’s lack of maturity: Spurrier restricts all the players, mostly to keep distractions to a minimum, but also to prevent one player from being perceived as being above the team.

Clowney’s background—he was raised mostly by a hard-working single mother after his father spent almost 12 years in prison for second-degree burglary—will receive scrutiny, but other draft prospects have come from much worse. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant’s mother had him when she was 14, and he had to live in several homes after her arrest and conviction for selling crack cocaine. Despite all that, and with some hard work by the Cowboys to supervise his activities and financials, Bryant has flourished.

Whoever drafts him is going to dig into every nook and cranny,” says an AFC GM. “And they’re going to see what’s in his soul.

The reason is that Bryant loves the game of football. He treated spring games in college like they were the Super Bowl, even as he got closer to the NFL. Evidence, and it is admittedly circumstantial, shows that Clowney is not the same breed of competitor.

As a sophomore last year, Clowney had 54 tackles, 23.5 for loss, and 13 sacks. With one game to play in his college career, he has 35 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, and three sacks in 2013. Clowney has certainly received more attention from blockers, and teams try to go away from him, but that alone doesn’t explain the downturn. The game tape never lies.

“Looking at him this year compared to last year, it seemed like last year every single play was balls to the wall, hell on wheels,” says the AFC executive. “This year, there’s a lot of plays where he comes off the ball super hard, and if the ball is away he just kind of chills and watches the play. There’s definitely going to be some questions about that.”

clowney-stats-graphic-800-inline

There was also the well-documented situation in October when Clowney informed Spurrier just before kickoff against Kentucky that he couldn’t play. Elite recruits often rule the roost once they’re established at schools. The coaches have little power once that happens, even less when a player like Clowney knows he isn’t just turning pro but is a top-10 pick who could have sat out the entire year to avoid getting hurt without affecting his draft stock. Combine that with Clowney’s watching Marcus Lattimore, the Gamecocks’ star running back, drop from a first-round talent to the fourth round because of a gruesome knee injury last year, and the stars aligned for Clowney’s subpar season—perhaps dropping him from being the first overall pick.

“I don’t see how that is such a factor that a team would take him off their board,” says an AFC scouting director. “Yeah, he’s immature and a young kid, but you can also go against that and say when he had a chance to shut it down, he did decide to come back. I think some of that can be overblown.”

clowney-inline-double-team360-NEWBut there’s still a question of how much Clowney lives and breathes football. Those who know him well say he loved to play the game in high school, and during his first two years at Carolina. But this season, with the rib and ankle issues, and teams dedicated to stopping him, Clowney has appeared to grow frustrated on game days. If Clowney is already having problems dealing with his first football adversity, how is he going to handle the NFL, a league that is tough from down to down in practice, let alone games? That’s what teams headed for the top of the draft will be digging through as draft day approaches.

Jevon Kearse was selected 16th overall by the Titans and coach Jeff Fisher (now with the Rams) in 1999 out of Florida. At 6-5, 262 pounds, and having run a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash—all comparable to Clowney’s actual or projected numbers—Kearse was known as “The Freak” for his unreal athleticism. He had 14.5 sacks as a rookie and was named first-team All Pro and Defensive Rookie of the Year. Kearse had double-digit sacks in each of his first three seasons, but never again.

“Does [Clowney] have all the talent in the world? Yeah,” says the AFC GM. “For people to get secure with him, it’s going to come in the interviews, the one-on-ones with teams. They’ll try to get him off the pre-scripted stuff from the agent. You have to be able to pass that smell test. Whoever drafts him is going to dig into every nook and cranny on him. And they’re going to see what’s in his soul. They’re going to see what makes him tick.”

All six personnel executives who were consulted for this story said it’s imperative that Clowney lands with a top-notch defensive line coach who can draw the best out of him on a consistent basis. Peppers had many of the same questions surrounding him when the Panthers took him with the second overall pick in 2002. While he hasn’t been the model of consistency, he still has 118 sacks in 12 seasons and has been a top force his entire career. With the Panthers, Peppers also had John Fox as his head coach and Mike Trgovac as his coordinator, two supreme motivators. Same with Rod Marinelli in Peppers’ first three seasons with the Bears.

* * *

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Where will Clowney land? Right now, the Texans have the first pick and a glaring need at quarterback, where Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater is the clear-cut top prospect. But Houston could address several positions. The intrigue really starts with the Rams, who have the second selection via Washington and the Robert Griffin III trade. St. Louis also has its own first-round pick (currently 13th).

The Rams appear to be happy with quarterback Sam Bradford, who has two years remaining on his contract and is coming back from ACL surgery. Left defensive end Chris Long received a contract extension before the 2012 season. Right end Robert Quinn is second in the league with 13 sacks. But the Rams still don’t have a top-flight pass rush. They’re 13th in the The MMQB’s Pressure Points rating, which measures the total pressure generated on opposing quarterbacks. Clowney, in a three-man rotation and at tackle in sub-packages, would help make their rush one of the best in the league. But the Rams could also use immediate help on the offensive line, safety and receiver.

The Falcons currently sit in the third spot, and if there’s any team that desperately needs an impact pass rusher, it’s Atlanta. It ranks 30th in Pressure Points and is tied for 27th in sacks. The Falcons also need help on the offensive line, and several prospect tackles could have first-round grades. But Clowney makes all the sense in the world. Would general manager Thomas Dimitroff, whose daring trade for receiver Julio Jones doesn’t look great today, trade up to get Clowney? It can’t be ruled out. “I can see Atlanta doing something,” says the AFC general manager. “They have an extreme need. He needs defensive help a lot.”

After that, there are four quarterback-desperate teams: Minnesota, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Oakland.

Wherever he lands, Clowney will be subjected to a spotlight that will make what he’s seen as the nation’s top high school recruit, and in the artificially cozy confines of Columbia, look like a reading light. He’ll be on a high wire without a net. There’s no question he has all the physical tools to be the next great pass rusher; the hype is no joke. It’s how he handles the off-field distractions and the game preparation that will determine whether he realizes his full potential.

“He’s a man amongst boys,” says an NFC personnel director. “But he’s one of those guys that’s a Pro Bowler, or he could be a big-time bust depending on what’s on the inside. That’s what we’ll all be digging into.”

We’ll find out for ourselves when Clowney puts his hand into the dirt on Sundays.

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Opening photo credits, clockwise from top left: Steve Jacobson/Sports Illustrated :: John Bazemore/AP :: Simon Bruty/Sports Illustrted :: Scott Cunningham/Sports Illustrated :: Jim Dedmon/Icon SMI :: Rainier Ehrhardt/AP :: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images (sign)

More from The MMQB
64 comments
ASonOfLiberty
ASonOfLiberty

Not certain where in the Draft he'll go, but one thing's for sure -- no way Clowney slips past Oakland. They need a sure-fire pass rusher in the worst way. If he's there when Oakland's on the clock, Clowney's a Raider.

ScottDeFilippo
ScottDeFilippo

Left defensive end Chris Long received a contract extension before the 2012 season. Right end Robert Quinn is second in the league with 13 sacks. But the Rams still don’t have a top-flight pass rush."


Are you kidding me? They're tied for 4th in the NFL in sacks. That's not a "top flight pass rush"?????

michael227
michael227

So he was driving 110 mph because "he's a kid at heart." Wow. Wonder if you would've written that if he, or someone else, would've gotten hurt as a result of him being "a kid at heart."

Sad how much people have to defend this guy. Whenever he has a bad game, his defenders line up. Whenever he misses a game due to an injury that his own coach questions, his defenders line up. I'm willing to bypass some of his off field transgressions as he's young so,hopefully,he'll mature with age but to just chalk stuff as reckless driving as being "young at heart" is grossly irresponsible journalism.

He'll be an average nfl player due to his questionable motivation. If it was only size and skill, he'd be set,but,thankfully, heart and hunger matter,so he'll underachieved overall.

TimMurphy1
TimMurphy1

To say that Clowney didn't have an impact in the Clemson game...or any other game for that matter...is ridiculous. Every team he played game planned against him by running the vast majority of their plays the other way. He was doubled and tripled teamed on most passing downs and still pressured the quarterbacks. The only team that was foolish enough to single team him was Tennessee..and he destroyed them. If I was the GM of the Texans, I'd be salivating and having heart palpitations over the prospect of having Clowney line up on one side with JJ Watt on the other. I think this story is a plant by either the Jags or Rams who are praying the Texans will pass him up. The guy loves football, is a model citizen ( except on Highway 77) and will dominate. I only hope there are enough teams who are stupid enough to pass on him so the Steelers can get him wherever the land. He's a beast...period!

trevino0703
trevino0703

The amount of hate is unreal! This guy is a freak of nature! All these couch gms know nothing about judging talent! Still going top 3 in the draft! Hate on haters!!!

kcjohn17
kcjohn17

Anyone notice the symbolism in the picture above with the arrow pointing down?


Looks to me like an indicator of his falling draft status.

Baconpizza
Baconpizza

If the Rams pick 2nd and 13th, they can address their pass rush and O-line.  You can always find productive safeties and receivers later in the draft.

Callaway
Callaway

Are you kidding me? There is no way the Falcons regret drafting Julio Jones where they got him.  Pro Bowler last year and helped them to the NFC Championship game.  He's a game changer who got injured this year.  They are not good this year due to their incredibly difficult schedule, bad luck, and injuries. 

gpellison68
gpellison68

I just hope Miami doesn't draft him. We do not need a diva in the locker room and I know we do not want someone who is not going to give 100%. Bone Spurs or not, this kid has issues with maturity off the field. Bone spurs do not make you do 110mph! If you love this game, you play through that crap, and you mind your manners and act like a MAN and tend to your business (personal and professional) as if your livelihood depends on it, which in this case, it does! 


How many examples do we have to show this clown (No Pun Intended) to get him to realize that the signing bonus and 1st year money do not last long if you get cut because you are not playing right! Since the new CBA, rookies are not given enough to retire on in their first year any more! Look at all the "phenoms" who have come out of college, busted, and ended up broke and hungry in the "Where are they now?" series!! 


This guy better look in the mirror, dig deep, find his set, and do what's right or wherever he lands, it will be a short career.

ScottFricks
ScottFricks

Jadaveon has been playing football with bone spurs in his foot. You couldn't walk to your car with that condition. 

inthepresent
inthepresent

jevon kearse is exactly who clowney reminds me of.


i'm concerned with his football IQ though. 

that's why 4-3 works, but 3-4 doesn't. yet.  

he's going to need a damn good coach, but his physical attributes are so ridiculous that it's hard not to imagine that he becomes a beast.  

USCnNC
USCnNC

I remember the talking heads saying Alshon Jeffery was fat, slow, out of shape. Once Clowney gets drafted and NFL coaches start working with him, dude will be fine. Heck, after watching Lattimore have that gruesome injury last season, I'd play at half speed also.

jkocurjim
jkocurjim

Overrated....simply put.  You would think this guy is the second coming of Lawrence Taylor or Reggie White because of one big hit last year.  He is a media-created sensation.  Physical talent alone doesn't do it in the NFL.  Otherwise, guys like Aundray Bruce, Keith McCants, Jamaal Anderson(the DL) would have been stars instead of busts.  Also, Clowney is not the physical freak that Jevon Kearse was.  He makes one big hit and he's the best defensive player in college? ......Please.... I've seen him play three times this year and wasn't impressed in any game.  He's lazy-he takes a lot of plays off and judging by him going 110 mph in a 70 zone, he's not too bright or considerate.  He seems like he'd be a problem in the locker room.

bornindetroit
bornindetroit

Signs point to him being a big disappointment. I would pass on him while hyping him so someone else takes him.

Problemsolver
Problemsolver

Clowney is a tremendous talent.  As a sophomore, he was probably the most improved player in America.  And there is no stat that can measure how disruptive a player is when not making a tackle, sack, or hurry.  He frequently drives the left tackle back into the pocket to shrink the pocket in an instant.  Teams ran the other way with extreme frequency.  Passing schemes changed to almost all three step drops.  Yes, he was out of shape at the beginning of the season.  (Columbia, South Carolina in late August is one hot place.) And, yes, he has had some nagging injuries. 


He is NOT a "me first" player.  On the contrary, he is very much a team player.  South Carolina has won 32 games (with a chance to win 33) over the past three years.  Clowney has been a huge part of that success. His teammates like him.  He is not mouthy although he will do some jawing.   


As odd as this may sound, Clowney has still not grown into his body.  Stated differently, he is still learning to control his body and his hands.  His explosiveness sometimes exceeds his level of coordination.  He plays and tackles too high on occasion.  He needs to improve his skills with his hands.


Yes, he probably let the press clippings go to his head a little bit over the summer which probably led to him being out of shape in late August.  However, he played his way into "game shape" and played hard all season.  I would trade Clowney for no one. 


Comparing sophomore stats to junior stats is unfair.  Teams ran away from Clowney and resorted to three stop drops -- which absolutely limited his opportunities and his stats.  He was frequently double teamed and on occasion triple teamed.


Left tackles gave their best efforts against Clowney.  (Clowney abused Tennessee's left tackle this year -- after the same Tennessee left tackle neutralized Clowney last year.) 


Prediction:  First year starter, Pro Bowler by Year 3, 10-12 year NFL career.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

He'll go high and do well. Will he change how defense is played in the NFL? No. But he'll earn his money. 

brob99
brob99

All he needs is a highlight reel play in the bowl game or impress in the underwear olympics at combine time and he'll be right back at the top of the board. 

He obviously has the physical gifts, and his overall body of work is good. It just comes down to character and the scouting community should have a pretty good read by now after following his development for 4-5 years.


westcoastbias
westcoastbias

Oakland is not QB-desperate.  McGloin looks like the next Andy Dalton, which is adequate enough when there are so many other positions needing attention - and he's affordable.  I expect them to pick everywhere except QB and OL in early rounds, and likely trade down for more choices.  What they also need is a better offensive coordinator.

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

If he's lazy while he isn't getting paid for it, what do you think will happen once he starts getting those game checks?

Mike26
Mike26

I would take Clowney with the #1 pick over Teddy Bridgwater of the Big MAC conference.

Cool
Cool

He might be big, he might be strong, and he could possibly turn into a great player but I don't see that happening. His problem is he is a lazy, what can you do for me, don't tell me how to condition, I will tell you when I am ready, selfish player.  He talks the talk about wanting to do anything to help his team yet his actions say different.

j7apple
j7apple

Whoever drafts him is going to dig into every nook and cranny,” says an AFC GM...I can only imagine the questions GM Jeff Ireland would ask....lol...

rh2000
rh2000

Another pampered athlete that will grab money and run!  From what I have seen him play, he has no heart and takes way to many play's off.   


Telling the coach just before kickoff he couldn't play?  That was total BS! He could have shut it down earlier and enable the coaches to give someone else reps during the weeks practice to get ready rather than surprise!!! I am not playing today!


Prediction!  BUST!




LucilleBluth
LucilleBluth

"Those who have known him for a while say Clowney is a big kid at heart, which some might use to explain how he was recently ticketed for going 110 in a 70 mph zone."


This is nonsensical. What does that even mean?  Or was this sentence just a really poor way of fitting the 110 in a 70 zone thing in?

sdrick
sdrick

For a minute there I thought I was reading an old SI article about Tony Mandarich...

eddie767
eddie767

"The Hit" changed his life and career expectations. He was already pro ready but it then changed to HoF. This then brought out his immaturity to the point of hurting his draft stock. Imo,he needs to drop to 10-20 to see if last yr was a fluke or the real Clowney. If a fluke,he'll make it up on next contract.

HunterBishop
HunterBishop

I think that you can't evaluate Clowney on down season. Or any football player, or any athlete. If you only looked at Tiger Woods in the years 2010 and 2011, you'd think he was a mediocre, journey-man type player. Obviously, that isn't true. 


This kind of negative analysis happens every year when a prospect comes out. They start talking themselves out of players because they are so concerned with getting it right. It's the kind of thinking that sent Russell Wilson to the third round and Randy Moss to the 21st pick and Joe Montana to the third round. Hell, even Andrew Luck was getting some criticism for his arm strength, even though he'd shown a million times in college that he could make every single throw, and has made every single throw. 


Let's pump the brakes a bit before we start calling Clowney boom-or-bust, because that is really ridiculous. Best case scenario, he's a freak of nature who swallows offenses whole. Worse case, he's a 6-8 sack guy a year who still wreaks havoc in spots during the season. 

AdamCsor
AdamCsor

@Callaway The Falcons are not good this year because of their overall lack of depth and deficiencies in the trenches on both sides of the ball.  The Julio trade is an explanation for both problems.

trevino0703
trevino0703

Like the Fin can afford to be picky!

TimMurphy1
TimMurphy1

Hey...I'll see you at his Pro Football HOF ceremony in 2033!

btl614
btl614

@jkocurjim He played the whole year with an injury. Last year he saw his own teammate go down with a horrible knee injury, almost ending his career. He does not want to ruin his pro dreams with a significant injury. Also you must have never seen him play till this year. If you were to see him play before this year you would realize why he is the best defensive player in college. Also what makes you say he'd seem to be a problem in the locker room? Just curious, since the only off the field issue hes really ever had was the speeding ticket.

diceman
diceman

@westcoastbias Agree completely.  There is no can't miss QB out there and the Raiders have way too may holes to take a chance on a boom-or-bust QB.  Stock the lines and build the defense.  They are years away from being a contender so start building the foundation now and wait for a better QB in the draft or free agent market.  McGloin is a passable stop-gap until then.

Twen15
Twen15

He doesn't want to get hurt doing something he isn't being paid to do yet. Just my opinion though.

Ryno97
Ryno97

@Mike26 Actually Louisville is in the AAC, not the MAC.  Your right though, there are NO good players that are currently playing in the NFL from the AAC (Kevin Kolb, Elvis Dumervil, DeAngelo Williams, Emmanuel Sanders, Ray Rice, & Raheem Brock)...... I do recall one QB who played at lowly Louisville that did OK in the NFL... Johnny Unitas

jer620
jer620

@Cool I have never read a single report in the last 4 years that would indicate Clowney is a selfish player, as you suggest.  Also, selfish players are not liked and respected by teammates, and he is very well liked.

Mike26
Mike26

@Cool As his brother and roommate, you would know all this...

Twen15
Twen15

I was thinking about that too. There is a pretty good possibility that the anecdote just got shoe-horned into this article last minute since the story broke either yesterday or the day before. Thought it was a weird way of putting it.

LucilleBluth
LucilleBluth

Never mind. After re-reading it for the 5th time finally saw it said is a big kid at heart not has a big heart.


I thought it was equating having heart with speeding.  

Somepeopledontgetit
Somepeopledontgetit

@eddie767 That hit was one of the most overrated plays I have ever seen thanks in large part to ESPN showing it 10,000 times. He was never blocked on the play and got a free shot on a defenseless running back who never saw him coming.There are a lot of division 1 players especially in the SEC that would have destroyed that Michigan running back if they had been in the same position.

Mike26
Mike26

@HunterBishop Randy Moss was a pothead and headcase - both proven to be true.  THAT'S why he dropped.

The_Sports_Dude
The_Sports_Dude

I agree with your premise about small sample sizes, but the Tiger Woods reference doesn't work because he'd already been a pro for 14 years when he started slumping in 2010.  By all statistical methodologies, college football is inherently a small sample size, with the best prospects typically turning pro after 3 years.  Even with his junior season swoon, I still expect Clowney to be one of the first two defensive players taken in the draft, unless he underwhelms at the combine or workouts.  NFL teams draft more for potential and use college performance mainly as a precursor rather than a validation.

michael227
michael227

So he gave up on his college team this year so he could protect his own personal stock next year. Sounds like a guy I want only team.

Plus,if he's going to play all the time with the fear of being injured how much effort will he put forth when he's in the NFL? Sounds like he wants a paycheck and that's it.

Mike26
Mike26

@Ryno97 @Mike26  1.  Johnny U has been gone from this world for almost a decade.

2.  Most of those players you mentioned either A) played in Conference USA or the Big East (as formerly constituted), or B) are almost all past their primes or have VERY brief success (Rice, Dumervil notwithstanding)   

3.  The AAC as currently constituted is no better than the MAC of the early/mid-2000's


If Bridgwater were top-notch then he would be unquestionably the top pick.  Since Clowney and others are CLEARLY being discussed, he clearly IS NOT.  It doesn't mean he's not a first-round pick, he's just not a TOP pick.

SCBraveheart
SCBraveheart

@LucilleBluth I think it was his heart beating 110 BPM equaling his MPH. Not Target Heart Rate but maybe his car can't go 199 MPH (220-age).  lol

Mike26
Mike26

@Somepeopledontgetit @eddie767 FALSE.  There is little defense played in the SEC as witnessed by their scores week after week.  Clowney making a tackle like that in a bowl game WAS outstanding because it did show that ONE guy the SEC can play defense.

LucilleBluth
LucilleBluth

@Somepeopledontgetit @eddie767 Flase. Clowneys lethal first step and snap recognition is the reason he was unblocked. He was the pulling guards responsibility however Clowney was just to fast for him.

Twen15
Twen15

Getting a top-5 receiver of all time should have warranted a higher pick than 21 even with his baggage.

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