Pro Days Done, Clowney Makes Case for Number One Overall Pick
Events like this are tailor made for uber monsters like Clowney, and he did not disappoint. Running through a variety of drills, the 6-5, nearly 270 pound specimen left all the teams in attendance highly impressed. The Texans, in particular, took a keen interest, as outlined by Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle, who was in attendance:
Clowney's actions were limited during the Gamecocks' pro day Wednesday at Williams-Brice Stadium. But when the 6-5, 266-pound junior competed, the simple sight of his once-in-a-decade frame smoothly motioning through complex drills left everyone from Texans coach Bill O'Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to national analysts with a finer appreciation of just how unique Clowney is.
"On May 8, he's going to get called one, two or three," said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, referring to the top three picks in the draft.
The Texans met Clowney for dinner Tuesday in Columbia and plan to bring him to Houston for a private meeting.
While Texans general manager Rick Smith often maintained his standard evaluation position Wednesday - standing alone but as close as possible to the action - O'Brien's closeness to Clowney increased as the workout wound down.
An obvious physical beast and a noted non-partier (his defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, on my radio show on 610 on Wednesday, made sure to note that Clowney doesn't drink), the only real baggage Clowney brings to the table (other than not being a quarterback) is the perception that he took plays, and maybe even games, off during his final year in Columbia.
His head coach Steve Spurrier, whose demeanor during the season when asked about Clowney didn't help quell that narrative, clarified his stance on that issue:
"I said [Lattimore] was exceptional. I maybe should not have compared [Clowney]," Spurrier said, via Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle. "I should have said, 'Jadeveon, with the rest of the team, he was right there doing what they did.' Maybe that would've helped out. I compared him to a guy who went above and beyond what was asked."
Spurrier was then asked what he'd tell an NFL coach who asked if Clowney was a hard worker.
"I'd say, 'He's fine, he's fine,' " Spurrier replied. "Yeah, he's fine."
Ok then. See, everyone! He's fine!
(My suggestion to Team Clowney -- pay to have Spurrier sequestered somewhere far, far away until May 8.)
Spurrier jabs aside, there is little doubt that Clowney fortified his position on Wednesday, and the Texans are at least giving the impression that they are seriously considering taking him with the number one overall pick. When you think about it, considering that both Clowney and J.J. Watt are not traditional fits in Romeo Crennel's style of 3-4 defense, and considering that eventually (4-5 years from now) you would be paying Clowney and Watt (two defensive ends) franchise type money, and considering the acute need the team has for a quarterback, Clowney would have to be a once-in-a-generation type player to take in the face of all those empirical reasons not to take him.
And he may just be.