The NFL Combine has almost come to a close, and the fates of all prospects will soon be revealed in this year’s draft. While the depth on both sides is clearly present for 2014, much of the attention has still been fixated on South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
In a recent interview, Clowney voiced his interest to play for the Atlanta Falcons and demanded that they trade up to get him. However, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff gave his own take on the matter to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
“Look, like I’ve said, I’ve been very clear about this, we will always be open for business. We will always be open to move up and back, depends on what’s right for us. Again, I feel really comfortable with where we are at six, but there are opportunities on both sides of six.”
Dimitroff went on to note the importance of taking everything into consideration, and even mentioned there could be some opportunities in free agency as well.
Clowney, who is projected to possibly be the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, has been eye-candy for all scouts and coaching personnel present in Indianapolis this past week. In the 40-yard dash, Clowney left most of the Combine participants in the dust, clocking in a 4.47 time (4.53 officially). He also posted a 10-foot-4 long jump and a 37.5-inch vertical. So it is safe to say even with an apparent hip flexor issue, Clowney not only chose his events well, but also boosted his draft stock in the process.
To this day, CBS Sports Radio’s “92.9 The Game” and CBS Sports Radio’s “680 The Fan” have been voicing the same nonsense: The Falcons should “Move on Up” to get Clowney. Carl Dukes on 92.9 was all for it, and even made the point that having a guy like Clowney will guarantee a job for Dimitroff for the next three years, sell more tickets and sell more Falcons’ jerseys. But here is the thing: Clowney is just one player!
Clowney may potentially give Atlanta additional exposure, but can he make up for the lack of depth the Falcons currently have on both sides of the ball, and can he guarantee a consistent level of performance that is expected over the course of an entire NFL season? Well, so far Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier pretty much answered that question with his own evaluation of Clowney in a recent interview with The NFL Network, stating his work ethic as “OK” and “not as good as Marcus Lattimore‘s.”
The point being is the Falcons should not under any circumstance trade up to get Clowney, and fans need to stop drinking the Clowney Kool-Aid. Yes, he is a freak of nature at his position, but unless the Falcons have found a way to clone players, he is not going to fill all of the holes. In addition, some seem to forget the Falcons just re-signed Matt Ryan to a huge extension, so the logical thing to do would be to make protecting the quarterback the priority. At the end of the day, the true identity of the Falcons is the offense.
Atlanta could definitely benefit at their current spot as the sixth pick in the draft. There are plenty of possibilities to choose from, with players such as linebacker Anthony Barr, offensive tackle Jake Matthews, linebacker Khalil Mack, offensive tackle Greg Robinson, offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and center Russell Bodine. Why gamble and risk losing big-time on one “superstar” by trading up when you can invest in a few solid young guys? Odds are, Clowney will be gone before No. 6 anyway.