The only person who can stop Jadeveon Clowney from being the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft is Clowney himself.
That was part of the takeaway from an extensive profile in the New York Times on the South Carolina star defensive end who already has indicated he believes he can make an early jump to the NFL following his junior season this fall. The one area where the 6-foot-6, 275-pound menace to quarterbacks can improve? Effort. And even Clowney himself concedes that.
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"(South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo) Ward says Clowney took too many plays off last season, a sentiment confirmed by Clowney and three NFL scouts," the NYT story read.
NFL.com's Gil Brandt was quoted in the story as well, noting that only off-field issues could derail Clowney's draft status from here forward, and projecting him as, "one of the greatest pass rushers we've ever had."
Added NFL.com's Bucky Brooks: "He is both a great player and a mythical figure at this point."
Clowney recorded 13 sacks last season and is expected to be the Southeastern Conference's dominant defensive player this fall. Asked about the NFL Scouting Combine, Clowney gave a hint to his former high school coach, Bobby Carroll, as to which and how many drills he plans to participate in: Just one.
"I'm going to take my shirt off, run the 40, and I'm out the door," Clowney told him.