Former South Carolina defensive Jadeveon Clowney still is pushing back in defense of his worth ethic, as the consensus No. 1 prospect available this year has had his effort questioned, and occasionally blasted, throughout the offseason.
He's turning his defense up another tick, though.
"I think I work just as hard as anybody," Clowney told The Associated Press. "If you pick me and pair me with guys, I'm going to try and outwork them also."
Now, while he didn't mention any specific team or player, there's been plenty of talk about how he would pair with All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt to give the Texans a plenty fearsome pass-rushing duo if the team decided to take him with the No. 1-overall pick.
In other words, Clowney is saying: If the Texans pick me, I'm going to try to outwork one of the best in the game.
Texans owner Bob McNair said back in January that he sees Watt as an ideal mentor for Clowney, but at this point in the process (with less than two weeks until the draft), the Texans should have their minds pretty well made up about what they think of Clowney's work habits, and those comments aren't going to sway them one way or the other.
As of now, signs are pointing to the Texans deciding Clowney, despite his rare talent, isn't a player they must have -- NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt reported there's a good chance Houston will trade down from the No. 1 pick, and the MMQB reported that Texans GM Rick Smith prefers Buffalo OLB Khalil Mack to Clowney.
The Falcons, however, might decide it's worth doing whatever it takes to land Clowney and are considering trading from No. 6 to the top of the draft, but they don't have any player close to Watt's level who will be able to give Clowney the push he might need.
The fact that they're even thinking of making such a move gives us a pretty clear idea of how the Falcons feel about Clowney, work ethic and all.