FOXBORO, Mass. — Jadeveon Clowney is widely expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, but that wouldn’t be the case if Willie McGinest were making the first selection.
“No, I wouldn’t,” McGinest said definitively when asked Thursday night whether or not he would take Clowney with the top pick, if he were the Houston Texans.
McGinest, the New England Patriots’ first draft pick of the Robert Kraft era 20 years ago, questioned the South Carolina defensive end’s commitment.
“We’ve seen a lot of really talented players come through the league,” McGinest said. “I think he’s exceptional, talent-wise. I just don’t know if he really loves the game of football and how much he’s going to put into the day-in, day-out of what it really takes to be a true professional. That’s just my personal opinion.
“It seems like all football players, especially in my position, D-end, outside linebacker, we all have switches. Most of you guys who covered me when I was here know, if somebody said something about me, I take it personal. If somebody said I didn’t work hard enough or I was going to get my (butt) kicked by a player or whatever the case may be, I would take it personal and the switch would go off. In my opinion, I don’t always see that switch (in Clowney).”
McGinest cautioned that he does believe Clowney can be a productive NFL player, but he would need to play for a team with an established culture where he would be held accountable in the locker room. That does not exist in Houston, in McGinest’s opinion.
UPDATE (8:15 p.m.): The Texans didn’t listen to McGinest. They snatched Clowney at No. 1, just as many expected.