COMMENTARY: As Expected, Clowney Goes First
Charles E. Sutton | 5/14/2014, 3 p.m.
The 2014 NFL Draft was held on Friday, May 9 at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. However, it came as no surprise when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped to the podium and announced that the Houston Texans had selected Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick.
The fact is, over the past three seasons Clowney has been the most dominant player in college football.
In 2011, he came out of South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, South Carolina, as the No. 1 college
prospect in the nation.
In 2014, the vast majority of college football analysts believed that Clowney was
the best pro prospect in the country. And, of course, he was No. 1 again on Friday night.
Some pro scouts have questioned Clowney’s work ethic.
He’s been accused of taking plays off. But the videotape doesn’t lie. Play after play, game after game, year after year, all Clowney has done is dominate his opponent. Off the field, he’s a humble, young gentleman who has bought into the instruction and leadership provided by coaches, mentors and the like.
At 6 feet, 5 inches tall and 265 pounds, Clowney is physically imposing. Although his primary position
is defensive end, he can also play linebacker. At the NFL Combine, held earlier this year, he ran the 40-
yard dash in 4.53 seconds. His size, strength, speed and talent make Clowney a dream of a football
player, who has become a nightmare for opposing offenses.
In the 2013 Outback Bowl, Clowney played a major role in Gamecocks 33-28 win over Michigan. With 8 minutes remaining in the game, he gained instant notoriety with a hit against Michigan running back Vincent Smith, in which Smith was separated from the football as well as his helmet.
Clowney recovered the fumble himself, and the Gamecocks scored a touchdown on the next play. That hit earned Clowney the 2013 ESPY Award for best play. Prior to the draft, the Houston Texans already had 2-time Pro Bowl defensive end, J. J. Watt.
With Clowney at one defensive end and Watt at the other, the Texans in all likelihood, will have the best
tandem of defensive ends in the NFL. Watt is entering his fourth pro season and has the knowledge and
experience to help Clowney hone his skills and develop as a player.
In addition, Watt is well-respected around the league and can help Clowney understand what it takes to be a genuine professional.
Many football analysts believe that the 2014 draft may have been the deepest in NFL history. It was
clearly the most memorable in recent history. It had the substance of Clowney, University of Buffalo
linebacker Khalil Mack, and Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews.
Simultaneously, it also had the sizzle, the sexy subplots. For example, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who’s a real wild card because his unorthodox style of play can make him a star or make him a bust. Then there’s Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who’s a real game changer and a threat to score every time he touches the ball.