The NFL clubs that already have worked out South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney are learning they've got a bit of an edge over those who haven't. Because the ones who haven't reportedly won't get one at all. And at least one general manager isn't happy about it.
Clowney has decided not to do any more private workouts leading up the 2014 NFL Draft May 8-10, and the knee injury suffered in a private workout by Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas is the apparent reason. According to mmqb.si.com, three NFL clubs have been informed Clowney won't work out privately any more. The publication reached two general managers for reaction, one of whom "took exception" to the decision.
Clowney will continue visiting clubs and conducting interviews.
"I'd want the guy who's going to be coaching him to put him through some of our drills, and see how he responds," said one GM.
One disgruntled GM, however, doesn't necessarily make for impact on the draft status of this year's top pass-rushing prize. Keep in mind, the Houston Texans, with the No. 1 overall pick, were everywhere at Clowney's impressive pro day workout in Columbia, S.C. NFL Media analysts Charles Davis, Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah all have Clowney going to Houston with the top pick in their most recent mock drafts. And Davis believes the Jaguars, with the No. 3 overall pick, is the worst-case scenario for Clowney.
If anything causes Clowney to slide at the top of the first round farther than experts expect, questions about his work ethic are more likely to be the reason than his failure to go through enough club-speficific drills. But make no mistake: Clowney will be drafted awfully high.
The real question surrounding Clowney's decision to shut down private workouts is whether any top players in this draft class follows suit. Clowney is as big a name as there is in this draft, and for him to set such an example can't help but trigger at least a little consideration in the minds of agents representing some of the draft's other elite prospects. Projected third-day draft picks wouldn't figure to have much of a choice, because they can help themselves more significantly by impressing an NFL team in a private setting.
But how much can a guy like Sammy Watkins -- who is a former teammate of Thomas -- help himself at this point?
If he's regarded as a top-five pick by the teams the way he is by the analysts, probably not too much.