The Circus is in Town

            There are some things I just don’t get. Nor should I, I suppose, since I am at best a causal fan and not directly involved with pro football on the field. Jadeveon Clowney, in my judgment, is very appropriately named for the media circus where he currently occupies the center ring. I have no doubt that he can and might turn out to be a wonderful pro, but the incredible pick of a generation or once in a lifetime player???? Come on, where has everybody been?

You don’t have to look back very far to find some equally or even more impressive stat-toting pre-draft collegians. Everyone gasps at Clowney’s 4.53 forty, but that is not rarified air for a top pick. Von Miller ran a 4.49, Kevin Hardy a 4.54, and Peter Boulware a 4.59. Those guys were good, but busts Keith McCants and Courtney Brown also ran 4.51 and 4.52 respectively. Even super bust Aaron Curry ran a 4.56 out of Wake Forest in 2009. The very best defensive linemen picked in the top five over the past 25 years, including notables such as Cortez Kennedy, Mario Williams, and Nadamkong Suh, as a group averaged only a pedestrian 4.8 or so. Ah ha! See, Clownery is better than those high achievers! Sure, except that those guys weighed an average of 296 lbs or a full 30 lbs more than the ringmaster. When he gains weight what will happen to his speed? No one knows. Clowney’s stats are okay for a linebacker, which might suit him just fine, except that he has never really played that position. Does it make any sense to call him a once in every thirty year guy at a position he hasn’t even played? Great prospect but way, way over hyped.

Of course, even I will acknowledge that he is an impressive physical specimen, but let’s look at his track record to date. He was so caught up in his own press clippings that he took his last season at South Carolina off. I guess he was saving himself for the NFL. If that lack of motivation is not another huge red flag, I am not sure what any player’s college performance is supposed to mean. Just wait until he has all that bonus cash in the bank, he will be really motivated then. Uh huh.

As we have discussed herein with previous installments at length even the very top pick in the draft leads to an perennial all pro only about a third of the time, which is about the same chance you have of taking a bust. Based upon this year’s crop of talent, I do agree that Mr. Clowney, is a deserving first round pick, but when it is all said and done in a few years I believe he will be found closer to the cotton candy vendor than the high flying trapeze.

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