NFC personnel man knocks Clowney as 'spoiled' and 'lazy'
APR 13, 2014 7:22p ET
Jadeveon Clowney has had his share of detractors over the last 12 months.
Those criticizing his decision to play for South Carolina in 2013 (instead of sitting out the season and avoiding injury), those mocking his effort while playing for the Gamecocks last year (sometimes through injury) and those questioning his upper-body strength at the NFL combine (after only 21 reps on the bench press).
Hence, it's only fitting Clowney would be the subject of more derision -- just four weekends from the 2014 NFL Draft (May 8-10) -- even while garnering strong consideration for the No. 1 overall pick (currently held by the Houston Texans).
On Sunday, as part of its pre-draft series breaking down the defensive line prospects, NJ.com published a litany of anonymous quotes from an NFC personnel man, lamenting Clowney's sustained motor and long-term motivation.
"He's spoiled and he's lazy. He's never worked hard a day in his life, now all of a sudden you're going to give him a bunch of money and expect him to work hard. I don't see it," said the personnel exec about Clowney, the 6-foot-5, 266-pound star from South Carolina who ran a 4.53 40 at the combine (fastest among his positional brethren) and posted a 37 1/2-inch vertical (second only to Shepherd University's Howard Jones).
The Rams (2nd overall), Falcons (6th), Buccaneers (7th), Vikings (8th) and Lions (10th) all have top-10 selections this year, so it's entirely possible that one the above clubs planted these denigrating comments to decrease Clowney's value -- either by necessitating an unforeseen plunge down the draft board or knocking down his worth in the trade market.
But then again, maybe the disgruntled NFC personnel man simply loathes everything he sees about Clowney on film, or in person. After all, not every scout or GM must have loved Aldon Smith, J.J. Watt, Chris Long, Mario Williams, DeMarcus Ware or Terrell Suggs ... just like a few personnel guys probably loved Albert Haynesworth's attack-mode "motor" during his collegiate days at Tennessee.
This, in a sense, represents why the NFL draft might be the most high-profile crapshoot in American sports. The whole projection process amounts to an educated guess, mixed with unconscious biases.
As noted in the same NJ.com story, the NFC personnel man doesn't have a preference for any of the defensive linemen atop the 2014 draft class.
"Oh, (Clowney's) going to be a high pick," the personnel man told NJ.com. "Some team will fall in love with him. But wait and see, just wait and see. I just don't think you can count on him. I'm betting the under on him (expectations-wise)."
The personnel man then added: "It's a bad year" for defensive linemen. "It's the worst group I've seen in a long time."
In three seasons at South Carolina (2011-13), Clowney made All-America teams in 2012 and '13; and in 2012, he captured SEC Defensive Player of the Year and Hendrick award honors.