While South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is equipped with just about every physical tool needed to dominate in the NFL as a pass rusher, his mental toolbox might be missing a few pieces.
That was the conclusion of six NFL personnel executives contacted by Greg Bedard of The MMQB for a story this week that looked at Clowney's NFL potential.
And that, as much as anything, will be in focus at the NFL Scouting Combine if Clowney declares for early NFL draft entry as expected. Note the similarity in commentary from three separate NFL execs:
» NFC personnel director: "He's a man amongst boys. But he's one of those guys that's a Pro Bowler, or he could be a big-time bust depending on what's on the inside. That's what we'll all be digging into."
» AFC general manager: "I think there's flashes of brilliance and flashes of extreme inconsistency. I mean, it's a boom or bust thing. ... Does (Clowney) have all the talent in the world? Yeah. For people to get secure with him, it's going to come in the interviews, the one-on-ones with teams. They'll try to get him off the pre-scripted stuff from the agent. You have to be able to pass that smell test. Whoever drafts him is going to dig into every nook and cranny on him. And they're going to see what's in his soul."
» AFC college scouting director: "When you look at him on film, he can do whatever he wants to do. When he's locked in and engaged ... it takes such a concentrated effort to neutralize him."
NFL team needs
With the NFL season in its final month, Daniel Jeremiah takes a look at the draft order if the season ended today, with the top three draft needs for each team. More ...
Comparisons were made to former Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jevon Kearse, as well as Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears star Julius Peppers. Peppers played consistently well deep into his career, whereas Kearse was more dominant as a younger player and far less productive the older he became.
Which track would Clowney's career follow? That's a question teams at the top of the draft will want to have an idea of.