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Is Clowney overrated or is he worth a potential first overall pick in the draft

BAR43's picture
February 24, 2014 at 10:47am

Let me preface this by saying I am biased against Clowney from the get go due to his lack of effort, work ethic, and overall mentality. But my question remains, if Clowney a subject offorcing feed from espin or is as good as advertised, yet not seen since his soph year?

Personally I think I am just able to see past the BS advertising that espin and many other are trying to force on everyday college football viewer. He had a fantastic soph year, but left much to de desired in his final college season. There is no doubt he is a phenom of a specimen with great ability. However, his lack of technique, work ethic, and consistent effort on th field paint a better picture of potential bust than all-time great.

The DE position is one of, if not the toughest, to excel at in the NFL with limited maturity. This can be seen in buckeyee past players: Gholston and Gibbons, whom both left early after one solid/great season and busted in the NFL. The position requires consistent effort and success and most importantly a chip on your should with drive (both of which Clowney lacks).

As mentioned I think he will fall through the cracks once he lines up against great talent, but only time will tell. All I can say is, give me Joey Bosa all day long over Clowney no contest.





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IH8UOFM's picture

He appeared (to me at least) to be flat out gassed when they were playing against up-tempo/no-huddle offenses.

OSUnathen's picture

Clowney is the most talented player in this years draft. He is also the laziest. Sometimes I wonder about his love for the game. His physical abilities are freakish and when he is motivated I see a LT type player that could revolutionize the position he plays. It is a tough call on whether to take him at the overall number one spot because his work ethic and immaturity really bother me. I see him coming into the league and playing well enough to get that huge second contract and then fading away and being a guy that plays when he wants. Personally I'd pass on him and spend my picks on guys that truly love the game and will give you everything on every snap. 

+2 HS
BAR43's picture

Agreed. Although freakish abilities only get you so far.... ie Pryor. If you are not great at the fundaments of your position than you are just an athlete playing football.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

This was the same thing with Randy Moss when he came out.  Freakish athlete, only had some issues and work ethic questions...same as Clowney.  The big difference for me, is that, Moss ALWAYS produced.  He was so good and played a position that allowed him to take off plays (runs to the other side) that his production far outweighed his down side.  

The problem for Clowney, is that he has not ALWAYS produced.  Teams have really minimized his effectiveness by gassing him or just going away/around him.  He plays a position where he can't really take plays off because he doesnt know whats coming...where as Randy Moss did know the plays coming.

If I am drafting early, I want guaranteed effort and proven record of results at the very least, not huge production swings.  I am not saying every top pick is guaranteed to produce in the NFL but I dont want glaring red flags.  I want a solid guy, good work ethic, brain on his shoulders, etc...the only way I would make a stretch for character and effort at the top of the draft is if the guy has ALWAYS put up massive production no matter what.

teddyballgame's picture

Yep, that's the rub here.  Clowney has all the physical tools and other players have the right mental approach.  You really need them both to be a star in the NFL.  No amount of coaching or trying hard is going to change how fast you can chase a QB though.  I think it IS possible to change a player's mindset for how they approach the game though, not easy, but possible.


logamaniac's picture

well thats not entirely true, a lot of moss's problems revolved around how many colleges (and why) he was a part of during his career 

-1 HS
703Buckeye's picture

I think Houston would be perfect for Clowney... He'll have JJ Watt making sure he's doing what he needs to do.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

JohnnyKozmo's picture

A lot of people are saying this, but Houston was running a 3-4.  Unless O'Brien is changing that, but I don 't follow the Texans, so I'm not sure.  I don't think Clowney fits the mold of a 3-4 DE, as they are more about holding the point of attack and keeping the OL off the LBs.  Watt is the only real exception to the typical 3-4 DE, in that he gets a ton of QB pressure.  Clowney is a 4-3 DE, so unless they are changing to a 4-3, I don't see him fitting there.    

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

seafus26's picture

We'll continue running a 3-4. Obrien brought in Romeo Crommel (sp) who runs a 3-4 version. His is more a traditional 3-4 with the down lineman more 2 gap space eaters. I want Sammy Watkins to put opposite Andre, and with Deandre Hopkins and Posey. If not Watkins, Kahlil Mack and move him inside with and the way we did Brian Cushing. The other ILB spot has been an issue for a couple years. Of course the glaring hole at QB would remain. A QB has to be taken with a top pick, but just not the top pick, unless they trade down

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

JohnnyKozmo's picture

Mack makes much more sense then if they go Defense.  Not sure if they would go Watkins #1 overall.  


Not sure why then all the talking heads covering the draft (NFL Network, ESecPN) continue to say the pairing of Watt/Clowney is a possibility.  No way Clowney can play DE in a traditional 3-4, and I don't think he has the ability to stand up as an OLB either.  

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

m5987usus's picture

You see I think he didn't try at all his final season he played but only played because he couldn't leave for the draft


BAR43's picture

If thats true, than even more reason to pass on him. Talent will only get you so far at the next level. The guys that excel are the ones that have the never ending motor. Clowney wasnt even able to get by many double teams in college, what do you think will happen in the NFL?! Without any doubt he has the tangibles to be great, but I think he is his own worst enemy. I dont see him being as dominant, some good plays here in there, but not a game changing player. Unless he pulls his head out of his ass and realized his ability is only going to take him so far at the next level.

m5987usus's picture

Completely sir I agree, the dude has all the talent in the world to be one of the greats, if he can improve his work ethic then well then he could be amazing


Buckeyeneer's picture

So many people with God given talent, lack the drive to properly use it. So many people work extremely hard to make the most out of the mediocre talent they are given. If you find someone who has both, they will make magic happen.

Clowney is in the first camp. He is either going to make someone look really smart or really stupid. I have never been more unsure of an elite talent in the draft.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

Squirrel Master's picture

I like how you put in that statement about ESPN but let me tell you this, I watched the NFL network pretty much all weekend for the combine. They were gushing over his abilities just as much and I'm sure no NFL team will draft him in the first round because ESPN thinks he is the most talented player in the draft. I'm certain many NFL execs could care less what ESPN thinks.

and I have also seen many ESPN commentators question Clowney too.

So I am pretty sure Clowney is not just an ESPN hype story. If Clowney fell all the way to 21 for my Chiefs, I would sure as hell take him in a heart beat! He might not be the BEST prospect in the draft but he certainly is a first rounder. Justin Houston was accused of being lazy and smoking pot and it knocked him down to the 3rd round. I bet many teams would take him in the first round now.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Unky Buck's picture

I think you make an interesting point, Squirrel. It's not so much being taken in the first round but where is he taken. Would people think he's still overrated if he fell to the teens or 20's and picked up there? Less hype around those picks (unless your name is Tebow) so a little less risk as well. I think context is key here. Where he goes can determine whether he's overrated or not, IMO.

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

+1 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

Yep. And I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few players who wouldn't mind dropping a few spots so they get on a better team. There is a big difference between 1st round money and later rounds, but not that huge difference between 5 and 10.

but the team difference between 5 and 10 could be a huge difference. I would much rather drop a few spots and get drafted by Minnesota and Detroit than Oakland and Cleveland. Although Houston at #1 isn't really that bad of a situation. but I bet many players wouldn't hate it if they fell out of the top 5 if it meant avoiding a bad team that won't get better in the near future. Its not a guarantee that the top drafting team will make the jump that KC and Indy did.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

JTACbuckeye's picture

amazing athlete...  highest potential...  but i would not draft him.  give me khalil mack!

The strong will stand, the weak will fall by the wayside.  100% and then some!

+4 HS
Youngbuck85's picture

He can literally be as good as he wants to be. I personally think he's too lazy to be a star at the next level though, but all the potential in the world

+1 HS
Unky Buck's picture

I wonder if part of this laziness stems from being able to dominate everyone at every level he's been at. Dominate may be an overstretch this past year, but you get the point. He won't be able to do this in the NFL. Everyone is the best of the best. Even with that, I'm not saying he'll turn it up a gear because of what he's stepping into. I think it's been ingrained in him to just do what has to do and it'll just come to him and that just doesn't work in the NFL.

But yeah, I definitely agree with you. Too lazy to be a star but has the makeup to be a dominate player if he could just stop being lazy.

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

BAR43's picture

I am fairly certain he did not dominate anyone this past season.

-1 HS
Unky Buck's picture

I know...I alluded to that:

Dominate may be an overstretch this past year, but you get the point. 

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

+4 HS
BAR43's picture

Yes I get the point. But to be "dominant" one season doesn't equate to much of anything. He had a good soph year and that was it. I am not saying that kind of season is easy to have, but there are always anomolies. 1 out of 3 years is hardly consistent performance that equates to dominating.... or fortelling of dominating at the next level.

Unky Buck's picture

You do realize I'm going far beyond just college, correct? He was also the #1 rated player coming out of high school. He lived up to his hype his freshman and sophomore years and then had a lackluster junior campaign. You are totally discounting his freshman year for some reason:

2011: True freshman who was named the SEC Freshman of the Year by the league's coaches and the SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year by also named second-team All-SEC and was a member of the All-Freshman team according to the SEC coaches... earned first-team Freshman All-America honors by FWAA, Sporting News,,,, and Phil Steele... named honorable mention All-American by credited with 36 tackles... was eighth in the SEC with 8.0 sacks, the only freshman in the top 10, and logged 12.0 tackles for loss... tied for fourth in the SEC and tied for eighth in the country with five forced fumbles... also had six quarterback hurries... played in all 13 games... started the season opener against East Carolina, becoming the first freshman to start on the defensive line since Travian Robertson in 2007... had seven tackles in his debut, adding a pass breakup and a QB hurry... recorded his first career sack at Georgia... forced the fumble against the Bulldogs that Melvin Ingram scooped and scored for the game-winning touchdown... forced two fumbles against Vanderbilt, including one that resulted in a TD by Ingram... picked up a sack, forced fumble, and two quarterback hurries in the win at Mississippi State... logged a sack vs. Clemson and added two more in the bowl win over Nebraska.

Regardless of all of that, you're focusing way too much on ONE word. I don't know why you're so hell bent on proving me wrong because I used the word dominate. The point I'm making is that he was typically better than everyone he played against. You can mostly thank that in large to diluted talent at all levels but now that he's going to the NFL, that talent gap isn't there. He can't rely solely on his athleticism to get by people now and needs to actually work. Can he do that? I don't think so. I don't think he has the mindset to want to do so and hopes his ridiculous athleticism will get him by.

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

dwcbuckeye's picture

I think at times this year (maybe a lot of the year) he was not able to dominate like he did the year before.  It is at this point when a real test of character and drive come out for all to see.  He could of either busted his butt to figure ways to be more effective, or just went with the flow and complained.  I would say he did more of the later and that is a big red flag to me

Knarcisi's picture

Him taking the year off and letting his team down told me all I would need to know if I were spending 10s of millions.

+1 HS
BucksfanXC's picture

I see it all the time where a kid gets told he's great all his life, so he doesn't have to work hard and still gets praise. If he gets a high draft pick, that trend will likely continue in my opinion and he'll half ass practices and workouts, sit plays out, etc. and probably get crushed and not be in the league for long.

If they were to spurn him, have him drop in the draft and his coach made that motivation and it finally snapped something in him to work his ass off and get in shape, because he obviously has physical talent and skills, just needs the motivation and effort - he could be great. I wouldn't bet on it though.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

hit_the_couch's picture

He's already graded as a future all pro. I think he'll be the next Vernon Gholston.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

+2 HS
mobboss1984's picture

If Clowney stop clowning around he would be the best in the game

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
Bruce Lee

Whoa Nellie's picture

Didn't I hear Steve Superior say recently, about his work ethic: "It's OK."

Damned with faint praise, I'd say.

“Don’t fear criticism. The stands are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down on the field are the doers, they make mistakes because they attempt many things.”

Mortc15's picture

Sad to see a truly great talent not work hard. He's a physical beast. He's big, fast, and strong but without the willingness to be truly great, it will never happen. I think he might be a player that doesn't really the work it takes until he gets there, and then after a year or two, finally realizes he has to work to make things happen.


jamesrbrown322's picture

In this draft, the QBs do not overwhelm me. From what I have seen, the two best NFL QB prospects are still in school - Hundley and Winston. If I was picking #1, I'd go with Clowney, no doubt.

Clowney could dominate if he just remembers to play Stanford football.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

BAR43's picture

The interesting thing to me is, outside his size and athleticisim, what has he really done that is earth shattering?! As mentioned, he had a very good year as a soph, but to be honest a lot of athletes are able to have a good year, its coming back and doing it again that shows how good you really are. Poeple were able to key on him and they gave him adversity that he never overcame this past year. How do we know Shazier is the real deal... he got better each year even when people knew how good he was. Clowney digressed, so outside of just his stature why are coaches drueling over an athlete that has shown: lack of work ethic, lack of consistent ability on the field, lack of technique, and overall a sense of arrogance and entitlement. What about a player like that is intersting for any coach to bring on a team?!

TLB's picture

No desire = average player at best.  More Albert Haynesworth than JJ Watt.

+1 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

I don't believe that he is a top 5 pick, simply due to the "work in progress" label.  He has all the potential in the world, but he will maintain that air of "Im all that" until he gets in the pros and get schooled a few times by the Best of the Best.  At that point, he will either wake up or continue to settle as talented mediocrity.  I hope he sees that he has alot to gain from becoming a team player, and that anything less than full participation and commitment will be unlikely tolerated in the NFL.

Go Bucks!

-1 HS
kareemabduljacobb's picture

I think Clowney was just coasting this year as he wished he could've jumped to the pros after his soph season... dude will be a beast in the NFL.  May not have a huge impact right away, but in a year or two he'll be a 15+ sack guy a season.  Shit, he's almost as fast as Philly Brown if you're looking at official 40 times, he's only going to get bigger and stronger.

teddyballgame's picture

Clowney is physically freakish.  If his work ethic wasn't questionable then he would be an easy #1.

Here is his 40" synced w/ Cam Newton and Kaepernick from last year. 


+2 HS
AndyVance's picture

FWIW, the NFL Network twitter feed was practically foaming at the mouth over his performance at the combine. It's clear they're excited about this guy. He's clearly a freak of an athlete.

+1 HS
ab1993's picture

Honestly, in my opinion, I think Jadaveon Clowney is the real deal

+1 HS
m5987usus's picture

He is bossome


PittBuckeye's picture

It's a gamble that he'll bring intensity that he didn't do consistently in college once he gets drafted. But if you win that gamble you may very well end up with an all pro DE, so yes it's worth it. The upside is just way too high.

Lawver_5's picture

While I don't know if the Texans will take him at #1, I don't think it would be a bad choice. He would be working with JJ Watt and those two together would be a nightmare for offensive coordinators. I think he could use all of the negative things people are saying about him as motivation and live up to the hype honestly. 

Seattle Linga's picture

So much talent - I hope he doesn't waste the GIFT

InvertMyVeer's picture

I rest my case

Football is complicated...