For Jadeveon Clowney, the 2013 season was supposed to be a season unlike any other, filled with bone shattering hits, endless sacks and ultimately ending in a Heisman Trophy.
These were the type of unrealistic expectations placed upon Clowney after he had an All-American type season in 2012 and “The Hit” against Michigan in the Gamecocks’ bowl game. A level of hype that could never be reached has been placed on Clowney, and for him that isn’t fair.
But fairness aside, Clowney hasn’t done much to help his case against the critics of his lackluster 2013 season. He only has two sacks on the season, has been slowed by fatigue and sickness in multiple games and didn’t play last week vs. Kentucky due to sore ribs.
Even head coach Steve Spurrier has openly questioned the dedication and work ethic of the freakish Clowney, which just confirms what many people already believe: Clowney is tanking it for the draft.
In Clowney’s defense, why wouldn’t you? He will get drafted in the first round off his freakish talents alone. After watching an injury like the one to former Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore, it would be difficult to give it your all knowing it can all be gone in a second.
But if you’re a team and you hold the first overall pick in this year’s draft, Jadeveon Clowney isn’t worth your first pick. That’s not to say Clowney isn’t a first round talent because he most certainly is, but the first pick in the draft is far too risky for Clowney.
He has shown that he struggles with double and triple teams and has limited versatility. The biggest knock on Clowney has always been his play against the run game, and teams have planned the same against him all year by using quick throws and running away from him.
Athleticism can only get you so far at the NFL level. You need to have the intangibles from the shoulders up, and you need to have intense work ethic and want to get better each and every day, things that Clowney has never been known for.
With all the available quarterbacks that are top-tier players eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft, it makes it hard to take Clowney especially considering if you’re that bad, your problem is probably offense. Clowney would take time to develop to the NFL game and offensive coordinators spend hours and hours planning against players just like him.