Many experts believe that former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is the best defensive player, and possibly the No. 1 pick, in the 2014 NFL draft. Former Auburn defensive end Dee Ford disagrees.
In an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio Sunday, via SoundCloud, Ford didn't hold back when talking about Clowney:
I'm better (than Clowney). Let's put it like this. People like to talk about size all the time. Size is pretty much overrated in my eyes. You can look at guys like Robert Mathis, Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller. These are 6-2 guys and under. People are just looking at the fact that he's a physical specimen. Honestly if you watch the film, he plays like a blind dog in a meat market, basically.
Those are some bold words.
Update: Monday, Feb. 24 at 11:25 a.m. EST
While talking to NFL Network's Kimberly Jones, via Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke, on Monday, Ford didn't back off from what he said on Sunday:
When I rely on my athleticism rather than bring the technical aspects, the fundamental part, watch film to become a great pass rusher, I become a blind dog in a meat market. When I watch Jadeveon that’s what I see. He’s 6-foot-6, 240 and he just plays. But at the end of the day, does that make you a great pass rusher or a better pass rusher than me? No.
We’re not saying that dog can’t run. We’re just saying he can’t find the meat. That wasn’t a personal shot at him at all. It’s just fun, it’s competition.
He did try to explain that it wasn't a shot at his peer at the end, but he certainly didn't back down from his original comments.
It doesn't look like his comments have created any bad blood. Ford and Clowney were seen having a good time together at the combine on Monday:
Ford was pulled from the combine as a medical precaution.
--End of Update--
His harsh criticism may have been supported by Clowney's disappointing showing at the NFL Scouting Combine:
Ford is listed, via NFL.com, at 6'2" and 252 pounds, whereas Clowney measured at 6'5" and 266 pounds. Clowney has the size, but Ford believes he has more talent. The former Tigers standout is viewed as one of the top prospects at his position, but he is not projected to be picked above Clowney.
In 2013, Ford was named first-team All-SEC and helped lead Auburn to a spot in the BCS National Championship Game.