South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney may have every physical tool required to be a top-notch player in the NFL, but he needs to show more than just tools to be an elite pro, according to NFL Media draft analyst Bucky Brooks.
In a College Football 24/7 video feature with Dave Dameshek, Brooks discussed Clowney's drop-off in statistical production this season, noting Clowney hasn't been consistently dominant enough to foretell a dominant pro career. Clowney has just two sacks this season, 11.5 fewer than he delivered as a sophomore in 2012.
"You'd like to see more production," Brooks said. "When we're talking about someone who possibly could be the No. 1 overall pick, I expect to see a dominant force, a guy who makes a presence week after week. It doesn't always have to be in the numbers, but certainly he has to deliver more production than he has, for me, to solidify himself as the No. 1 player in the game."
Clowney, a junior, is expected to declare early entry for the 2014 NFL Draft. The hype surrounding the speed and quickness Clowney pairs with his 6-foot-6, 270-pound frame has generated a heavy buzz in NFL personnel circles, perhaps no more feverish than when South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier confirmed Clowney ran a sub-4.5 40-yard dash during team testing in July.
Clowney's third season with the Gamecocks, however, has been his least productive from a statistical standpoint. And although he has faced frequent double-teaming and offensive game plans designed to minimize his impact, concerns about his ability to fulfill his potential have grown.
"I understand, he's going to go in the top three picks if he elects to come out," Brooks said. "He's a great height/weight/speed specimen. He's a guy who has outstanding upside, talent and potential. He has the ability to rush the passer. Those things we've seen on tape in the past. However, when we're talking about beyond draft position, going forward, I need to see someone who dominates the game. He doesn't dominate the game (in) a weekly fashion. I'm talking about a guy expected to come into a franchise and be the guy expected to set the table for everyone else to eat. I don't know if I can say that, based on watching his tape, that he is a table-setter off the edge."