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Jadeveon Clowney not ready to make instant impact, scout says

Von Miller. Aldon Smith. Mario Williams.

All three and more of the NFL's top pass rushers surfaced among remarks that collected from the scouting community about the potential of former South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney. And while each had due respect for Clowney's potential as a high-end first-round pick in this year's NFL draft, some of them felt the "once-in-a-generation" praise sometimes attributed to him was too effusive.

"You really like what he brings to the table and what he could become: a perennial Pro Bowler and those type of things," an NFC scout said. "But is he going to become a Day 1 starter? I really don't know that. Aldon Smith, watching him in college, he was pretty raw, but he was further along, in my opinion, than Clowney is. But obviously, Clowney is more athletic than him, so I don't know.

"He could be Julius] Peppers in time," the scout said. "But to say he's going to walk in the league Day 1 and rip it up, tear it up, like [Ndamukong Suh or Aldon Smith or Von Miller? It's hard for me to say that ... He's not a better rusher than Von Miller."

Miller already has 35 career sacks in just 40 career games with the Denver Broncos over three seasons. That's roughly a sack per game, a lofty pace for any prospect's aspirations. Clowney maintained the sack-per-game pace as a sophomore in 2012, but didn't even deliver a sack per month as a junior last year. Still, there was a reason for it: Offenses game-planned around Clowney as much as possible.

There was also this from former Philadelphia Eagles scout John Middlekauff: "I have no reservations about his physical attributes and upside. To me, it's more the off-the-field stuff. I want to know what makes this guy tick."

Criticism of Clowney's effort wasn't hard to find last season, from his season-opening appearance of being out of shape against North Carolina, to his controversial decision to sit out the Kentucky game with a rib injury.

None of that, however, seems to have caused his draft stock to slide.

And if Clowney delivers a 40-yard dash time anywhere close to the 4.46 time he claimed to have run last summer, it might even slide forward.

If that's possible.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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