Jadeveon Clowney cemented himself as the top defensive lineman available in the upcoming NFL draft, and may have locked up the top spot, and untold riches, with his amazing 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis Monday morning. Clowney ran the 40 in unofficial times of 4.47 and 4.48 seconds – Fastest among all defensive linemen. Clowney’s times would put him as one of the fastest running backs in the upcoming draft. It’s that kind of athletic ability that has many NFL executives drooling over the prospect of drafting Jadeveon Clowney this April.
Prior to the Combine, Clowney had guaranteed that he would run a sub 4.4 time on the 40 yard dash. While he failed to live up to that prediction, he ran faster than the experts had predicted, and entered the realm of “special” physical feats. Chris Johnson, currently with the Tennessee Titans, holds the mark with the fastest combine time on record at 4.24. This run by Clowney is more impressive than Johnson’s run, according to some analysts, because of Clowney’s size. He is a listed at 6’5″ and 266 pounds; much larger and heavier than Chris Johnson, who was 5’11’ and 195 pounds at the time of his run.
Clowney’s predictions didn’t stop at his 40 time. He also told the world of his plans for life after college:
I want to be the best. I want to be one of the greatest of all time, and the NFL is the next stepping stone.
The Houston Texans own the number one pick in the NFL draft. Jadeveon Clowney hopes that the Texans use that top pick on him. Aside from the prestige that comes with being selected first, the top pick is also slotted into the highest paying rookie contract. Prior to the Combine, numerous mock drafts had Clowney slotted as the top pick in the draft. His runs at the Combine have helped his cause to remain atop many teams’ draft boards.
Despite his freakish run times, NFL Network analysts Mike Mayock and Warren Sapp have issues with Clowney’s motivation. Sapp referred to his times as “frightening”, and Mayock stated:
It really doesn’t matter what he runs; he’s a freak.
However, Mayock has been on record that Clowney has “red flags” about his work ethic, and reiterated those concerns Monday stating that Jadeveon “turns it on, he turns it off.” Sapp also criticized Clowney’s effort after watching tape of his play at South Carolina this season.
I’m ashamed to look at it. He ought to be ashamed it’s even out there because of inconsistent play.
Sapp went on to say the tape made him question whether Clowney truly “wanted to play this game,” and that there was “no aggressiveness, no hunt” from Clowney in a lot of the tape he had seen. Clowney had better hope that the Texans are more enamored with his freakish physical gifts and his Outback Bowl “hit” against Michigan, than the lack of production shown at times on the field last season.
If you had the first pick in the NFL Draft would you select Jadeveon Clowney?