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Davis: Jadeveon Clowney must show up in shape at pro day


In terms of talent alone, it's a near consensus that Jadeveon Clowney is the best player in the 2014 NFL Draft. That doesn't mean, however, he'll be the first name called at Radio City Music Hall come May.

As a result, his pro day Wednesday could provide some added incentive for the Houston Texans to pass over other needs and make him the choice atop this year's draft. Clowney has plenty to gain from a good showing at his old stomping grounds, but thanks to his impressive tape, he probably doesn't have all that much to lose from a bad day, as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater did.

It's hard for teams to find 6-foot-5, 266-pounders who can run a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash after all.

So is there anything Clowney could possibly do see his stock drop? Now that you mention it, there might be one thing.

"Show up out of shape -- that's about it," NFL Media analyst Charles Davis said on "Path to the Draft." "The rest of it will take care of itself. He's going to go through everything in terms of showing his athleticism."

"That's the big thing for me -- just show up in shape," fellow analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "Two things he needs to avoid. Bending over at the knees, gasping for air. Throwing up, that's also a no-no."

Mike Mayock has Clowney as his top defensive end available in the draft and is one of many looking forward to the festivities in Columbia. Things will be setup a bit different from the quarterback pro days that have dominated much of NFL Network's live coverage so Mayock is looking forward to the element of surprise when watching Clowney up close.

"He's the most talented player in this draft. It doesn't mean he'll be the best player," Mayock said. "Here's what is going to happen to him on Wednesday, as opposed to the quarterback pro days, where there's a guru that scripts something that you practice for two weeks. Clowney is going to show up and three or four D-line coaches are going to jump out with bags and cones and do drills with him that he can't anticipate.

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"But let's face it, regardless with what he does, he's still going to be the most talented player in the draft on Thursday morning."

That will weigh heavily on the minds of Texans general manager Rick Smith and coach Bill O'Brien. With needs at a number of positions, Mayock said he thinks that it wouldn't be a terrible idea if the team considers trading back to pick up extra picks in a deep draft. That could allow them to perhaps take quarterback Blake Bortles at a later spot or wind up with offensive tackle help.

Most mock drafts have Clowney going No. 1 overall to Houston, but a draft-day trade would certainly open the order up if the team decides to look for a partner on draft day.

That means Wednesday's workout is not just an audition with the Texans if Clowney wants to be the first pick taken.

"I think he's going to nail it," Jeremiah said. "It's not going to be what you'll see with this workout, it's about what you'll hear; when you hear him slap those bags and see how explosive he is. I think it will be a good day for him."

We'll find out live on NFL Network if that's the case.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.



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