Blogs & Opinion

NFL Draft: 'Jadeveon Clowney is first-class but attitude could derail him'

Alex Ferguson Posted 10th April 2014 view comments

Next month's NFL Draft (which will be live on Sky Sports) is coming up fast, and every NFL insider seems to have a theory about who's going to be the Next Big Thing. Alex Ferguson profiles Jadeveon Clowney - the biggest defensive pick of the draft - and looks at his upsides and downsides.

In my mind, the last defensive pick in the NFL Draft that was as drooled over as Jadeveon Clowney was Penn State linebacker Lavar Arrington. He went to the Washington Redskins in 2000, hasn't played a full season since 2003, and hasn't played a down since 2006.

Jadeveon Clowney: he hits opposition players like a freight train

Jadeveon Clowney: he hits opposition players like a freight train

Arrington had it all: Brights, power and exceptional athleticism. He had a Signature College Moment: The 'LaVar leap'. In that move, he leaped over his defensive line and tackled an Illinois running back in the backfield. The move was immortalized, and eventually made Arrington a lot of money.

Clowney, a defensive end from the University of South Carolina, is a mountain. He was a scourge of defensive co-ordinators in college. He's got the speed and power of a Japanese Bullet Train, and he's also had his signature moment.

Clowney was a scourge of defensive co-ordinators in college. He's got the speed and power of a Japanese Bullet Train, and he's also had his signature moment.

Alex Ferguson
Quotes of the week

Michigan running back Vincent Smith knows about it. He was hit so hard by the Bullet Train that his helmet came off. In other words, he has it all.


In high school Clowney was the No.1 player in South Carolina in all categories, and was pursued by every major college in the country.

After a three-way battle between South Carolina, Alabama and Clemson, he opted for South Carolina in 2011, where he immediately got the tongues wagging, recording 17 solo tackles in 13 games, 12 tackles for loss, eight sacks and five forced fumbles in a superb first season that showed the world: "This Clowney kid's pretty good". But thanks to all the defensive talent in the SEC at the time, he remained pretty under-the-radar.

Until 2012.

In 2012, Clowney became 'God'. It started with a phenomenal performance in his first game against Vanderbilt under the lights, and there didn't seem to be a week that he wasn't rampaging through a defensive line or causing problems.

It was like watching Goliath slaying a number of Davids, and there was not a stone or catapult that gave him a prayer. He had 13 sacks, 40 solo tackles, 23½ tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two broken up passes, and a fumble return, as well as 'Hit Of The Century' against Michigan.

In that off-season, it was like there was no other player in college football than Jadeveon Clowney. Even the noise around Johnny Manziel was quiet by comparison.


In 2013, defensive co-ordinators double-teamed the life out of Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney couldn't get off his blocks, and his numbers were right, right down. He had just three sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, 28 solo tackles and just one forced fumble.

And if it wasn't bone spurs in his right foot or a knee inury against Florida or rib injuries that caused him to take himself out of the running for the Kentucky game, it was a seemingly constant toe-to-toe with his head coach, Steve Spurrier.

And when he was playing, he didn't seem to be playing at the same energy levels that we'd seen from The Destroyer in 2012. It was all rather disappointing.

And Spurrier's endorsement wasn't exactly ringing when asked about the player's work ethic, either, telling the NFL Network it was just "OK". But he added: "But when the ball's snapped, he's got an explosion like you've never seen before."

"He's what you dream of. He's freakish," drooled on NFL GM to Adam Schein of CBS

There's no question that Houston's going to get an athletically-brilliant player if they get Jadeveon Clowney. His instincts are first-class. His speed is likewise. He hits opposition players like a freight train.

But his attitude, may well be his undoing... especially when he finds that the talent level on the NFL offensive linesmen far outstrips what he faces in college.

And if the Houston Texans aren't successful.

back to top

Other Blogs:

Latest Posts in :

Alex Ferguson

Start your engines!

Alex Ferguson predicts who will triumph in NASCAR's showpiece race, the Daytona 500....


Graeme Souness

Souness: Stevie still a star

Graeme Souness says Steven Gerrard would still get into the starting XI of any Premier League team....

Guillem Balague

Balague: Contenders not ready

Athletic, Sevilla and Valencia haven't yet got what it takes to crack the top three, says Guillem Balague....

Ed Chamberlin

Van the man?

Ed Chamberlin explains why Tejay van Garderen is capable of plucking the Tour de France's Yellow Jersey....


Gary Neville

Neville blames Toon signings

Gary Neville says Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is suffering for failing to sign enough experience....

Barrie vs Terry

Barrie v Terry

Barrie McDermott and Terry O'Connor go head-to-head with their Super League play-off predictions......

Butch Harmon

McGinley beat Watson

Butch Harmon says Paul McGinley out-captained Tom Watson as Europe retained the Ryder Cup....


Alex Hammond

Follow Rules

Alex Hammond has checked the formbook and found the first six home in the Cambridgeshire!...

Alex Hammond

Alex Hammond Blog

Alex Hammond looks ahead to another big weekend of racing...

Alex Hammond

Hear the Music!

Alex Hammond looks ahead to the weekend's racing including the feature Betfred Sprint Cup....

Neal Foulds

Selby steel

New world champion Mark Selby's the master of match play, says Neal Foulds - but what's next for Ronnie?...


Neal Foulds

Trump tip

Ronnie O'Sullivan is favourite for the Worlds - but Judd Trump could spring a shock, says Neal Foulds....


Neal Foulds

Night at the Circus

Neal Foulds is looking forward to another fun, raucous Snooker Shoot-Out - but can't pick a winner....


Kelvin Tatum

Back on track

Lakeside can make it two wins over Belle Vue Aces in four days, says Kelvin Tatum, but it'll be close!...


Kelvin Tatum

Hit the road

Swindon are struggling this season but will fancy their chances at Birmingham, says Kelvin Tatum....


Kelvin Tatum

Racing away

Belle Vue are unbeaten at home but Kelvin Tatum asks if they can transfer that form at Swindon....


Richard Moore

The final curtain

Richard Moore reflects on Sunday's Closing Ceremony to an unforgettable Olympic Games......


Richard Moore

A lasting golden glow

Richard Moore suggests all the British Olympians should visit schools and talk about their experiences....


Richard Moore

Favourite Froome

Richard Moore reveals his predictions for the 100th Tour de France, which starts on Saturday....


Wayne McCullough

Wonderful Davis

Wayne McCullough watched Antonio Rogerio Nogueria take on Phil Davis at UFC Fight Night 24. ...


Wayne McCullough

Jones shines bright

Wayne McCullough was highly impressed as the talented Jon Jones made short work of Mauricio Rua....


Wayne McCullough

A bloody marvel

Wayne McCullough salutes Diego Sanchez as he edges out Martin Kampmann in a UFC humdinger....