As the 2014 NFL draft approaches, the question of which prospect will be taken first overall looms large.
Well, it shouldn't.
The prospect who should be selected with the first-overall selection is Jadeveon Clowney.
Entering the scouting combine, Clowney measured at 6'5" and 266 pounds. That didn't stop him from running a blistering 4.53-second 40-yard dash, posting a 37.5" vertical jump and 124" broad jump.
He's simply a once-in-a-lifetime freak athlete.
To put Clowney's 40 time into perspective, only one tight end in this year's class—A.C. Leonard of Tennessee State—ran faster.
Despite Clowney's impressive combine—and equally impressive pro day—some draft analysts view the former South Carolina standout as a risk.
Lance Zierlein of Rotoworld tweeted some inside information regarding the possibility of teams coveting former Buffalo standout Khalil Mack over Clowney this year:
Had conversation w/ friend for team inside top 10 abt Clowney late last night.He said his team got rough evals on football character from SC— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) May 6, 2014
If this information is correct, and I have no reason to believe his team didn’t hear this Clowney info, I think Texans go Mack.— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) May 6, 2014
I don’t see the Houston Texans and Bill O’Brien/Rick Smith taking a chance at #1 on just traits if a guy has questionable football character— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) May 6, 2014
So, how much of this can be taken as concrete fact during a time of year when smoke screens run rampant?
That's what we'll all be wondering until the Houston Texans take the podium with the draft's first-overall pick.
Until then, there's an ongoing trend of "sources" concerned with Clowney's motor and a perceived lack of desire to compete and a consistently high level.
According to Jason Butt of Yahoo! Sports, Texans head coach Bill O'Brien has no such concern:
I don't have any concerns about his motor. There are 90 plays a game in college. You'd be hard-pressed to find a defensive lineman to go like his life's on the line. He played a lot of plays. He played hard this year. I think when the game was on the line—the Tennessee game, the Georgia game—this guy showed up and made a lot of plays.
Even Clowney, himself, has weighed in on the subject. According to an interview with the Associated Press, Clowney said, "I think I work just as hard as anybody. If you pick me and pair me with guys, I'm going to try and outwork them also."
With off-the-charts intangibles, Clowney is simply too good to pass up at the top of this year's draft. In case a reminder is needed, here's a small glimpse back into Clowney's legacy at South Carolina:
Yes. He's that good.
Imagine what Clowney could do opposite J.J. Watt. Now imagine how dominant Watt will be when Clowney garners more attention from an offensive line. Are the Texans really thinking of passing up on that scenario?
Not a chance.