Jadeveon Clowney, the South Carolina Gamecocks Student and Defensive End, reached the top of the charts of many NFL Draft watchers after his amazing performance in 2013, and one that was punctuated by this still-shocking play against Michigan in the Outback Bowl:
So, many expected a replay of that for 2013. Clowney disappointed all, first by not finishing spring pratice, then by taking himself out of the Gamecocks first game of the year, and then by missing the game against Kentucky (which South Carolina won, anyway) after mishandled report on his rib injury. Gamecocks Head Coach Steve Spurrier said this:
And Clowney had to deal with the results with the media:
Yes, Jadeveon Clowney is an amazing player and athlete, but if he doesn’t play, or sends out the perception that he’s not going to play with pain, something that (for worse or better) is the measure of a football player in the NFL, his potential will never been seen at the league level, and he’s already out of the 2013 Heisman running as of this writing.
Clowney already taken more plays off than any Heisman candidate I've seen in years.
— Chris Dufresne (@DufresneLATimes) August 29, 2013
Now I want to get one thing straight: Mr. Clowney is no joke. Calling someone a joke is uncalled for. All you have to do is see this highlight video to know Jadeveon Clowney is something special:
The question now is, how special? Well, Jadeveon Clowney’s not special enough to be considered for The Heisman. He’s not special enough to be picked as the best player overall for the 2014 NFL Draft.
But Clowney is special enough to be drafted in the NFL Draft first round, perhaps as high as the middle rounds, but I could see him falling into the second round if his poor play (compared with his past) continues through the season. Right now, many are questioning his heart. He reportedly skipped spring spring practice sessions due to complaints of a neck sprain, but he wasn’t so sore that he could not catch this touchdown pass:
What you have to remember is that Jadeveon Clowney is still the best pure defensive lineman in the NFL Draft. He’s at South Carolina, seems to be a good student, has played against the best offensive lineman, and came out on top most of the time.
And on a personal note, Jadeveon Clowney reminds me of the late Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Harvey Martin, or “The Beautiful Harvey Martin” who’s great personality off the field was countered by his nasty, offense destroying play on the field.
The bottom line is that Jadeveon Clowney is focused on staying healthy for the NFL, and perhaps too much so. It’s a lock that he will be drafted, but teams are now worried that he may not be worth a giant signing bonus. He has to make sure he doesn’t send out the signal that he’s a paycheck player even before he gets paid.
Well, considering that Clowney’s got a $5 million insurance policy already, maybe he’s already getting paid?