Count Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley among those, including Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who are saying nothing but positive things about Jadeveon Clowney.
Bradley joined Jacksonville's 1010XL radio Tuesday night to discuss his team and the upcoming NFL draft, and Clowney, considered a potential top-five choice in a draft in which the Jaguars hold the No. 3 pick, inevitably came up in the conversation.
Gus on Clowney: "He's a dominating player. He's a guy that is talked about in high regard and there's no question why he is." #Jaguarsâ Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) February 5, 2014
While Clowney was routinely criticized by NFL scouts and personnel staff speaking anonymously during the season for a lack of production (three sacks) as well as effort, toughness and various other intangibles, the negativity seems to have done nothing to Clowney's standing in the draft.
The Houston Texans hold the No. 1 pick, and last month, team owner Bob McNair floated the possibility of Clowney being the No. 1 overall pick. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah lists quarterback as one of the Texans' biggest needs; in his first mock draft, however, he has the Texans selecting Clowney at No. 1.
"I think it is a pretty intense debate because quarterback is the most important position on the team. You have to take care of that, but how often does a talent like that (Clowney) come around?" Jeremiah said last week on NFL Network. "It is going to be a debate between the quarterback they would take at No. 1 versus the quarterback they would take at the top of the second round. If they feel like that gap is not very wide and you're comfortable with that quarterback in Round 2, I don't know how you pass on Clowney with the first overall pick."
Gus: "We still have that mindset of taking the best player available. We have some needs, obviously. ... "â Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) February 5, 2014
If the Jaguars target Clowney for the No. 3 pick, the St. Louis Rams with the No. 2 pick figure to be the primary detriment to the acquisition, because while the Texans are in need of a quarterback, the Rams are not.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.