The Jadeveon Clowney pageant is over.
The South Carolina defensive end will no longer work out for teams interested in taking him in the NFL draft May 8, MMQB.com’s Peter King reports. Instead, he will let his Pro Day performance April 2 at South Carolina speak for what he can do on the field, Clowney will visit teams and interview with coaches and general managers, but he won’t be on the field until his first mini-camp. The reaction to the decision is mixed, with one general manager telling King: “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.”
But there are plenty of sound reasons for Clowney’s decision. It may be simply that he is assured that he’ll be the No. 1 pick by the Houston Texans, who’ve watched him work out. For another, there’s the very real risk of injury. Last week, Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas tore his anterior cruciate ligament while working out for the New Orleans Saints and Clowney spent a cautious final season with the Gamecocks after watching Marcus Lattimore hurt his knee twice.
Then there’s the very real question of just what Clowney still has to prove — and there are two sides to that one. Teams are well aware of what he can do at this point. What more can he show them? Of course, that plays into the rap against him, that he doesn’t want to perform without a paycheck. His own coach, Steve Spurrier, questioned his work ethic last season. An unnamed NFL executive recently told NJ.com’s Mark Eckel that Clowney is “spoiled and he’s lazy. He’s never worked hard a day in his life, now all of a sudden you’re going to give him a bunch of money and expect him to work hard. I don’t see it.”
At this point, Clowney probably figured that the best way to counteract that buzz is through in-person interviews rather than in drills and workouts. With all that’s at stake, it’s hard to blame him.