NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock said he had seen enough from Clowney before the workout even ended and called him a "special, special talent." Fellow analyst Daniel Jeremiah called it "a phenomenal day" for Clowney. And analyst Charles Davis called it "as impressive a pro day as I have seen in recent years."
"On May 8, (Clowney's) going to get called one, two or three," Mayock said.
The workout came in front of coaches and front-office officials from around the NFL, and all the analysts noted the vast number of decision-makers who were present.
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Houston owns the first pick, and the Texans had a huge contingent in Columbia, S.C., including coach Bill O'Brien. St. Louis and Jacksonville, which pick second and third, respectively, also had big contingents on hand. It is extremely doubtful -- inconceivable, even -- that Clowney falls beyond the third pick. Thus, teams outside the top three that covet Clowney will likely be spending time considering the cost of trading up to be in position to land him.
Clowney, who measured in at 6-foot-5 5/8 and weighed 266 pounds, went through linemen drills and linebacker drills. He was strictly a 4-3 defensive end at South Carolina but could be asked to be a 3-4 linebacker in the NFL. Regardless, Mayock said, "he's going to make his money hunting quarterbacks."
Jeremiah said teams would be drafting Clowney for what he does "going forward, not going in reverse." He noted that having Clowney drop three or four times per game at linebacker likely would be all that was required; the rest of the time, Jeremiah said, he would focus on getting to the quarterback.
Thing is, even though he is not used to dropping into coverage, Clowney looked good in the linebacker drills. He was a bit tight in the hips, Mayock and Jeremiah said, but he still looked fluid overall.
Still, he was at his best in the linemen drills, where he flashed his eye-popping athleticism. "This is what you want a freaky defensive end to look like," Jeremiah said during the drills. And at one point during the drills, Mayock observed: "That's crazy; that's crazy for a guy his size."
Of course, no one ever has questioned Clowney's athleticism; instead, his motor and work ethic have become issues. All three analysts wondered before the workout about Clowney's conditioning, but it was not a problem. "He's in phenomenal shape," Jeremiah said during the linebacker portion of the workout.
Clowney's workout was the last one among the potential No. 1 overall picks. In some ways, the best was saved for last. The only question now is how soon Clowney hears his name called when the draft begins on May 8.