Coming off a monster sophomore season at South Carolina, Jadeveon Clowney appeared to be the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. One year and an underwhelming junior season later, Clowney is no longer a lock for that top spot.
He certainly seems to believe he deserves to be, though.
“I just think I should be the No. 1 pick taken in the draft, overall,” Clowney said on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday morning, per NFL.com. “So we’ll see how that goes.”
Clowney, a 6-foot-6, 275-pound athletic freak of nature, has been terrorizing SEC quarterbacks for three seasons and has been advertised as an absolute game changer for NFL defenses. After a 13-sack season in 2012, which included this memorable hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith, Clowney’s production dropped this season, when he managed just three sacks.
The down season damaged his reputation among NFL decision-makers, even causing some to wonder if he was giving his full effort. His decision not to sit out against Kentucky when injured early in the season certainly didn’t help that reputation, and being pulled over for driving more than 40 miles over the speed limit in December raised a red flag about his maturity as well.
Clowney is still undoubtedly a top-10 pick and could well go first overall, but the presence of quarterbacks like Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, as well as UCLA defensive end Anthony Barr, could be more of a draw for the Houston Texans, who hold the No. 1 pick.