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Carl Banks: Comparing Clowney to Lawrence Taylor 'ridiculous'

The praise for former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is effusive -- maybe too effusive.

NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock has said that Clowney is "the best defensive-lineman talent on the planet," and some are already predicting he'll be in the Hall of Fame.

Enough already, says former NFL linebacker Carl Banks.

Banks especially has issues with those comparing Clowney to former New York Giants teammate Lawrence Taylor. Banks played alongside Taylor for nine seasons and said any Clowney comparisons to the NFL Hall of Famer are "ridiculous."

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"No. 1, you're stepping over a lot of great defensive ends," Banks told ESPN. "They should hope he's as good as a Richard Dent, Neil Smith, Bruce Smith or Charles Haley. If he can get to that level, he's a dominant player.

"But you want to jump over those players and say he's the next Lawrence Taylor? It's ridiculous. I just gave you four of the greatest defensive ends, and you don't want to put him in that category because he's already better than them?"

Clowney has unlimited potential, no question. But Banks is right. While fans (and the media) crave player comparisons, why in the world is anyone comparing him to one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history? It's like comparing an uber-talented college basketball guard to Michael Jordan, or an 18-year-old minor-league defenseman to Bobby Orr, or a stud left-handed high school pitcher to Sandy Koufax.

There's no way anybody compared to those guys is going to match up. In that scenario, then, is Clowney going to be a failure? Of course not. As Banks points out, what's wrong with being as good as Bruce Smith or Richard Dent, two Hall of Famers?

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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