Jadeveon Clowney ran 4.47 in 40-yard dash (GIF)

Jadeveon-Clowney-40-yard-dashAnyone who had forgotten just how physically gifted Jadeveon Clowney is was given an incredible reminder on Monday morning at the NFL Scouting Combine. Clowney recorded an unofficial time of 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Remember, folks, this is a 266-pound defensive lineman we’re talking about.

To give you some perspective, Clowney ran faster than USC wide receiver Marqise Lee, who posted a time of 4.52. Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, who many consider to be the best receiver in the draft, was slightly faster than Clowney at 4.43. He weighs just over 200 pounds.

Some of the faster quarterbacks at the Combine over the weekend were Johnny Manziel (4.68), Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas (4.61) and Miami’s Stephen Morris (4.63). If 40-yard dash times are any indication, those guys won’t be running away from Clowney at the NFL level.

The fastest defensive lineman at the 2013 NFL Combine posted a time of 4.60 seconds. Here’s a GIF that compares Clowney’s 40-yard dash time with Manziel’s:

Are there questions about Clowney’s work ethic? Plenty, and Steve Spurrier did nothing to answer them when given an opportunity recently. When scouts see speed like that, they tend to brush those questions aside.

GIF via Bleacher Report

Auburn DE Dee Ford: I’m better than Jadeveon Clowney

Dee-Ford-AuburnWhile most people are talking about players like Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel at the NFL Scouting Combine, guys like Auburn defensive end Dee Ford feel that they are flying under the radar. Ford recorded 10.5 sacks last season and established himself as one of the best pass rushers in the country. Clowney, who faced a lot more double-teams, finished the year with only three sacks.

Ford will likely be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft in May, but he won’t be drafted ahead of Clowney. He thinks he should be, as he stated in an interview with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on SiriusXM over the weekend.

“I’m better. Let’s put it like this — people like to talk about size all the time. Size is pretty much overrated in my eyes,” Ford said, via Eye on College Football. “You can look at guys like Robert Mathis, Elvis Dumervil,Von Miller. These are 6-2 guys and under. People are just looking at the fact that (Clowney is) a physical specimen. Honestly if you watch the film, he plays like a blind dog in a meat market basically.

“I play with a lot of technique. I watch a lot of film. These are the things I do and it shows up.”

In other words, Ford feels that Clowney relies strictly on his freak athleticism. He may be right to an extent, but you can’t teach size, speed and strength. That’s why NFL teams tend to focus on those things and assume they can refine a player’s game when needed.

Clowney ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine on Monday, which is incredible for a 275-pound lineman. That said, even his college coach has raised questions about his work ethic. Clowney will either be boom or bust in the NFL. Someone like Ford could be a steal later in the first round.

Steve Spurrier: Jadeveon Clowney’s work ethic was ‘OK’

Jadeveon ClowneyIf there has been one knock on Jadeveon Clowney and his NFL prospects, it is his work ethic. The South Carolina defensive end has openly admitted that he has not always given 100% in practice, and there were questions about his conditioning early on last season. Steve Spurrier has not done much to put Clowney’s critics at ease.

Spurrier, who was blatantly irritated back in October when Clowney sat out against Kentucky, told the NFL Network on Wednesday that Clowney’s work ethic is “OK.”

“He was OK,” Spurrier said, via Jeff Reynolds of CBSSports.com. “It wasn’t like Marcus Lattimore, you know, every player is a little different. His work habits are pretty good, they’re not quite like Lattimore, a Stephon Gilmore, Melvin Ingram, some of those guys, but when the ball is snapped he’s got something no one else has.”

That isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement from the Ole Ball Coach, and it will likely put Clowney under an even stronger microscope at the NFL Scouting Combine this week. Spurrier’s point seemed to be that Clowney has rare talent but does not always display a sense of urgency.

Clowney was once a consensus top-three pick in the NFL Draft, but that talk has since cooled. No one would be shocked if he went very early, but there’s no question the effort questions have had a negative impact on Clowney’s stock.

Roddy White wants Falcons to draft Jadeveon Clowney or trade their pick

Roddy-White-FalconsRoddy White has been with the Atlanta Falcons for nine seasons, and 2013 was one of the worst. The only positive to come out of Atlanta’s 4-12 season is the No. 6 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. On Wednesday, White took to Twitter to share his opinion on how the team should use it.

The Falcons are one of just a few teams near the top of the draft that do not need a quarterback. As a result, they should be in line to draft one of the best non-quarterback players in college football. White believes his team should either draft Jadeveon Clowney or trade the pick.

White’s idea really isn’t that far-fetched, though former teammate Brian Finneran does not believe Clowney will be available at No. 6.

[Read more...]

NFL GM: Jadeveon Clowney is either boom or bust

Jadeveon ClowneyIt wasn’t that long ago that Jadeveon Clowney was considered a lock to be the top overall pick in the NFL draft. Heck, many people felt he would have been the top overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft had he been eligible.

What a difference a year makes.

Between decreased stats, a conflict about sitting out a game, and questions over his work ethic, Clowney is no longer a lock for the top spot or even to be taken in the top five of the 2014 draft. Greg A. Bedard had a great feature on Clowney’s pro prospects for SI’s Monday Morning Quarterback (it’s a very good read if you’re interested in Clowney), and the consensus from the NFL execs he spoke to is that Clowney is actually a gamble.

Among the interesting notes from Bedard’s feature: Clowney is viewed as a fit for a 4-3 defense; there are questions about the South Carolina defensive end’s maturity; and there are a lot of questions about his desire. What makes Clowney tick — the money or the desire to be great — is the biggest question teams will try to decide when evaluating him.

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

Is the GM saying Clowney is boom or bust as a draft pick, or that he’s boom or bust during games? And if a player is a bust during games but makes enough big plays, is that enough to outweigh the inconsistency? Those are questions teams will have to answer.

I still think Clowney is a physical specimen who will be a difference-maker in the NFL. I think he’ll be a Pro Bowler and a guy I’d want my team to draft. His questionable desire is probably the difference between him being a Pro Bowler a handful of times and becoming a Hall of Famer, but he should still have a fine career.

Junior Jadeveon Clowney to be honored at senior day

Jadeveon ClowneySteve Spurrier provided pretty concrete proof that Jadeveon Clowney will leave for the NFL draft after the season.

The South Carolina coach said on Sunday that he expects Clowney and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles to “go out with the seniors” and be recognized on senior day, the Post & Courier reports.

South Carolina hosts Clemson Saturday and will honor their seniors, who will be playing their final home game for the school. Only four scholarship seniors will be honored, but Clowney and Quarles are expected to say their goodbyes then, too.

Spurrier’s statement should hardly come as a surprise. Clowney has been hyped up since last season — and since high school, truthfully — and there has been talk since last year that he would be the top overall pick in the draft. Some in the media even suggested that he should sit out the season to protect himself since he didn’t have anything to prove.

It was actually somewhat of a shaky season for Clowney, who faced questions about his desire and conditioning early on. He’ll likely be a top-five pick in the draft regardless.

H/T College Football 24/7

Jadeveon Clowney says he ‘didn’t practice real hard’ last year

Jadeveon ClowneyJadeveon Clowney entered the college football season regarded as by far the best player in the sport, a lock to be the No. 1 overall draft pick in the NFL, and a potential Heisman Trophy candidate. But in the mind of most people, the all-world defensive lineman has disappointed this season. Part of that is because he hasn’t made the huge plays that got him national recognition in the first place — like his massive hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith. Part of it might be because unlike quarterbacks, running backs and receivers who always have the ball, it’s harder to see the impact of a defensive lineman. But Clowney has legitimately given critics plenty of other reasons to doubt him this season.

There were questions about Clowney’s conditioning following South Carolina’s opener against North Carolina. Then there were questions about his desire after he sat out an early October game against Kentucky. And now we may have to add questions about his work ethic to the list.

In an interview with The New York Times, Clowney admitted that his practice habits weren’t very good last year.

“My practice habits have picked up way more than they did last year,” Clowney told The Times. “Last year, I really didn’t practice real hard. This year, I came in with a different mind-set, like I want to be that guy, I want to have no flaws in my game.”

There are certainly two takeaways from that. One, it’s great that Clowney wants to up his game and perfect himself as a player. That’s the type of thing you hear guys like LeBron say. On the other hand, it’s somewhat alarming that he wasn’t practicing really hard last year. Maybe that’s because he knew he was great and felt like he didn’t have to push himself.

I still think very highly of Clowney, but between this quote, his conditioning questions, and not playing against Kentucky, I don’t view him as a lock to be a Hall of Famer the way I did last year. He’s going to need to go to the right NFL team and have a coach who will push him to maximize his ability.

Helmet smack to College Football Talk