Jadeveon Clowney has made scouts and football experts drop their jaws generally every time they have had a chance to break him down individually, and that will continue at the 2014 NFL Combine, as he shows the world once again why he's been such a touted player since high school.
South Carolina's menacing defensive end has torn up SEC offensive lines pretty much since arriving onto the scene in 2011, emerging from a five-star recruit to one of the nation's most feared players almost immediately.
After two years and one signature hit, Clowney was the resounding top pick in the 2014 NFL draft. There was no argument.
Then 2013 happened. Clowney's numbers declined, his production took a hit and his reputation as a high-ego, low-effort player spread like wildfire.
That, coupled with an emergence of quarterbacks, has seen Clowney slipping down draft boards. B/R draft guru Matt Miller doesn't have the former prodigy coming off the board until No. 6 to Atlanta.
But there is no doubt that once Clowney's freak physical condition shines through at the NFL Combine, scouts will fall in love with his measurables once again, and he'll shoot up draft boards—including, most importantly, Houston's.
The Texans hold the top pick in this year's draft—a pick that they will likely use on the next franchise quarterback in Houston. They have the opportunity to take Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles at the top to solve their problems under center.
But the talks have been there about Houston taking Clowney at No. 1 and pairing him up alongside J.J. Watt to make for one of the NFL's scariest defensive fronts.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport spoke with a few people who saw Clowney fitting in Houston as a linebacker:
Talked to a few evaluators about what Jadeveon Clowney would be if #Texans drafted him in Romeo’s scheme: SAM linebacker. Is athletic enough— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 21, 2014
If Houston knows what it is doing with this top pick, it will realize that it can wait or make a trade in order to land the quarterback of the future. The Texans can't afford to miss out on Clowney.
Once he's in the right program, effort won't be an issue for Clowney—he will be getting paid handsomely and will be under the parameters of a contract for mandatory events.
And no scout in their right mind would look too much into Clowney's disappointing 2013 season. They will see on film that teams went way out of their way to double up on him and take him out of a lot of those games.
How will Clowney's career pan out?
When Clowney's physical condition is evaluated ad nauseum at the combine, scouts will see just what a freak he is, physically. They will see the prospect who set the standard for recruiting evaluations, and one that will immediately make a huge impact upon entering the league.
Clowney is already an unstoppable player, and when he's put into a defensive scheme that also features Watt, double coverage won't be an option for opposing offensive lines. They will have to handle Clowney one-on-one, which hasn't typically gone well for anyone.
The Texans' first pick is an easy one, and Jadeveon Clowney will prove that at the NFL Combine.