Jadeveon Clowney set the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on fire with a majestic 4.53 time in his 40-yard dash, just a glimpse of the herculean talent possessed by the former University of South Carolina defensive end as he starts gearing up to take the NFL by storm. Scouts had little doubt of the freakish numbers Clowney would put up, but it did not take away from the sights of seeing the beast actually put on the jaw-dropping performance.
Clowney set the SEC on fire as a South Carolina Gamecock for three years, and the combine represented his first chance to do the same for the NFL, a test he passed with flying colors. The 4.53 time in the dash was easily tops amongst all defensive linemen, who all ran Monday. Even at a mighty 6’5″ and 266 pounds, Clowney still stood head and shoulders above the competition. He even posted a better time than 27 of the 33 running backs who elected to run at the combine.
Former scout Greg Gabriel told Tom Pelissero of USA Today that, “he has an opportunity to be one of the all-time greats at his position.”
Aside from his blazing 40 time, Clowney measured out to have an 83-inch wingspan as well as massive 10-inch hands. He leaped his way to a 37.5-inch vertical as well. Athletically, he has done everything possible to ensure that he is the best athlete in this draft, and possibly the best at his position that we have ever seen. Clowney is gearing to take the NFL by storm because of his superhuman abilities.
However, he is far from perfect. Up to this point in his football career, he has been able to get by strictly on athleticism and an array of skills on the defensive line. Where he absolutely must improve is in the effort department.
Gabriel also added in his interview, “He’s going to get drafted on pure talent. There’s no question about that, and chances are he’s going to be a good player. But to me, there’s also a bust factor, and the bust factor is he didn’t play worth a (expletive) this year.”
Clowney’s numbers took a significant dip during his junior season as he posted just three sacks, granted he did play through some injuries and saw an extraordinary amount of double teams. He seemingly coasted through the season because it was widely accepted that he had no intentions of returning for a senior season. It is understandable not wanting to get injured, but teams and GMs will have concerns about such a move.
“I wasn’t worried about my stats really,” Clowney said, according to ESPN. “I just wanted to win.”
The mostly unimpressive season Clowney had will not be enough to keep him from being a top pick, but it did raise some doubt. Clowney was also the product of an unreasonable amount of hype after the now unforgettable play he made late in the 2013 Outback Bowl against Michigan that catapulted him into iconic status. In that game, Clowney exploded through the line late in the game to deliver an earth-shattering hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith in which his helmet flew five yards down the field and the ball popped out of his hands. Clowney casually scooped up the ball with his left hand and simultaneously scooped up the fandom of the entire country.
Doubts aside, Clowney is gearing up to take the NFL by storm. His alleged motivational problems were overblown, and his athleticism was not. This kid is an absolute monster and has a burning will to win. He has great expectations for himself and is not the type of player who will let his skills go to waste or get complacent. Look out for this guy at the next level.
By Justin Hussong