Jadeveon Clowney: My goal is to sack Andrew Luck

Jadeveon-ClowneyJadeveon Clowney is hoping to make an impact this season as a rookie with the Houston Texans. In order to do that, the former South Carolina star feels he needs to take down a guy who made an impact as a rookie in 2012.

In a recent video that was posted on the Texans’ official website, Clowney said one of his main goals in 2014 will be sacking Andrew Luck.

“My goal for the rookie season is to try to better myself as a player,” he said, via Pro Football Talk. “And my goal in the NFL is to sack Andrew Luck. He’s in my division, playing him two times a year, he’s a dangerous quarterback, he makes good decisions with the ball, so I just want to get after him and sack him one time.”

That’s certainly a good place to start. Luck is easily the best quarterback in the AFC South division, and the Indianapolis Colts are heavy favorites to repeat as division champions. At age 24 and entering his third NFL season, Luck could be poised for a breakout year. The Texans will need Clowney to get after him — among other things — if they want to take down the Colts.

Did Jadeveon Clowney play with sports hernia all last season?

Jadeveon ClowneyJadeveon Clowney’s somewhat disappointing final season at South Carolina might have a whole new perspective to it now that it sounds like the defensive end played through a pretty serious injury.

Clowney underwent surgery this month to repair what was described as a sports hernia. He also had groin problems at his pro day, though he performed well despite the issues. Now we’re hearing that Clowney’s sports hernia injury dates back to the season.

Houston Chronicle reporter John McClain reported news of Clowney’s sports hernia injury via Twitter Thursday:

McClain also says Clowney is day-to-day in his recovery and that he might not be ready for the start of training camp.

Clowney’s work ethic was questioned by multiple people leading up to the draft, including Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier, who described it as “OK.” Clowney faced more attention from offensive lines, was seen taking plays off, and only had three sacks last season. Maybe the groin problems had a lot to do with the lack of effort at times and dropoff in production.

Jadeveon Clowney cries upon being made first overall pick

Jadeveon Clowney cries

Jadeveon Clowney probably had a strong idea that he was going to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, but that still didn’t keep him from breaking down emotionally over the surreal moment.

Upon being announced as the first overall pick, Clowney began to cry.

The former South Carolina defensive end will now head to Houston where he will team with JJ Watt to form one of the most fearsome and ferocious defensive lines in recent memory. They will be scary.

Below is video of the pick:

Video via GIFD Sports

Texans not set on Jadeveon Clowney first overall in draft?

Jadeveon ClowneyThe Houston Texans are on the clock with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, and there are plenty of questions about whom they will select.

The expectation has been that Houston will take former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney at No. 1 despite any concerns about Clowney’s work ethic. The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain has suggested that the Texans could trade down and select Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles or even Khalil Mack. It seems like that may be their plan.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on Sunday that the Texans aren’t 100 percent sold on Clowney and are willing to trade. Peter King says he does not know whom the Texans will take, but he says he’s hearing the same thing.

Are you buying this? It could be the source of the reports are executives fielding calls from the Texans about making trades, which would make the report very solid.

For what it’s worth, Texans GM Rick Smith said last week that they know whom they will pick.

“If we take the first pick, we know who we want,” Smith said Thursday. “It’s interesting to me that it’s a big deal that we know our board, and all of a sudden we know who we want. That’s our job. I think we ought to know that.”

There was one qualifier — Smith said “if” they keep the pick. That meshes with the talk that they are considering trading down.

Warren Sapp the latest to question Jadeveon Clowney’s work ethic

Jadeveon ClowneyThe debate continues to rage on over whether Jadeveon Clowney is worthy of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. There is no denying Clowney’s athleticism, but there have been plenty of questions about his work ethic. On Monday’s edition of “NFL Total Access,” former NFL players Warren Sapp and Heath Evans ripped Clowney’s decision to decline private workouts with teams before the draft.

“I look at Jadeveon Clowney’s tape and I don’t see a guy that’s playing the game with his hair on fire,” Sapp said. “If it’s my pick, I’m taking Teddy Bridgewater. I believe Teddy Bridgewater is that quarterback who gets it done.”

Bridgewater has tumbled down the draft boards with poor performances during the offseason, but that’s a debate for another day. Sapp and Evans both blasted Clowney for turning down NFL teams who are interested in jumpstarting his career.

“What else is he doing, not waking up?” Sapp said. “The next job you have is rushing the quarterback, young man, getting ready for the NFL. If you wake up every morning and you’re not prepared to go out and do the things you have to be either be an outside linebacker or pass rushing specialist, what else is there?

“You can blow your knee out walking your doggy. So why would you not work out for a team that has twenty million-plus dollars for you?”

Evans was just as harsh.

“There’s just so many little things about this kid that deter you from getting on his side,” he said. “This kid turns down private workouts? He says, ‘Well, I don’t want to get hurt.’ You should be training harder on the day that you’re not at a private workout than how hard they would work you on the private workout.”

Of course, Sapp had to throw in some crap about how he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer who was happy to work out for NFL teams when they wanted him to, but both he and Evans have a point. You can understand Clowney not wanting to risk injury, but he must be working out anyway. Why not get a head start on working with NFL teams?

Texans reportedly prefer Khalil Mack over Jadeveon Clowney

Khalil-MackThe NFL draft is quickly approaching, and it remains unclear what the Houston Texans intend to do with the top overall pick. Matt Schaub is gone, so they certainly have a need at quarterback. There is little consensus when it comes to who the best quarterback in the draft is, though some have claimed they are intrigued by Johnny Manziel. Then there’s Jadeveon Clowney and the freak athleticism he has been showcasing during the offseason.

But what if the Texans draft neither? Andre Johnson has already said he believes Houston should trade the top overall pick. On Monday, Peter King cited a friend of Texans general manager Rick Smith who claims the team likes Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack over Clowney.

“FORS (Friend of Rick Smith) told me the Texans general manager likes Khalil Mack over Clowney, and we still don’t know which quarterback Houston would choose if it chooses one first overall,” King wrote. “I still think the Texans would go with a more sure thing with the first overall pick than a quarterback — and that sure thing could also be tackle Greg Robinson.

“But imagine Mack, the outside linebacker from the University of Buffalo, being the first pick in a stacked draft. Wouldn’t that be something — a second straight Mid-American Conference player (Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, by Kansas City) as the top pick in the NFL draft?”

That would indeed be something. Mack was a first-team All-American last year and is a tackling machine. He also terrorized opposing quarterbacks with 9.5 sacks. As Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk noted, some believe Clowney would be a better fit for a 4-3 defense rather than Houston’s 3-4. Smith’s buddy could also be trying to get more teams to offer trades for the No. 1 overall pick.

Given some of the things we have heard NFL executives say about Clowney’s work ethic, we would not be shocked if he is not the first player taken. Having said that, a Buffalo linebacker being taken No. 1 overall in a stacked draft would be quite the curveball.

NFC executive on Jadeveon Clowney: He’s lazy and spoiled

Jadeveon ClowneyJadeveon Clowney once looked like a supreme NFL draft prospect and surefire top pick, but there are now some mixed feelings about him.

Most people agree that he has absurd talent as a defensive lineman, but the concerns about his work ethic are troubling to many.

NJ.com has been having three different NFL scouts/personnel executives give some evaluations on players leading up to the draft, and on Sunday they reviewed the defensive linemen. One of the three execs was critical of Clowney.

“He’s spoiled, and he’s lazy,’’ the NFC personnel man told NJ.com. “He’s never worked hard a day in his life, now all of a sudden you’re going to give him a bunch of money and expect him to work hard. I don’t see it.”

“Oh, he’s going to be a high pick,’’ the personnel man said. “Some team will fall in love with him. But wait and see, just wait and see. I just don’t think you can count on him. I’m betting the under on him.’’

Keep in mind that the same evaluator had a negative overall outlook of the position, calling it the “worst group” he’s seen in a long time. So maybe he was just down on everyone as a whole. But his opinion on Clowney is not exactly unique.

We’ve heard some compare Clowney to Randy Moss in terms of the talent but questionable work ethic/motivation. Even Clowney’s South Carolina coach, Steve Spurrier, describe his former player’s work ethic as only “OK.” That was not a good sign.

Some people may view the criticisms as unfair, but when this many people start expressing the same concerns, you have to figure there’s a good reason for it. The warning signs are definitely there.