Josh Kendall

February 20, 2014

The Clowney Combine is about to begin

Jadeveon Clowney will be one of the stars at this year's NFL Combine. Here's why he's in a no-win situation.

Josh Kendall

News and views about Gamecocks football

    INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – Good morning from the NFL Combine.
   
    Let’s talk about Jadeveon Clowney. Jadeveon Clowney won’t talk about Jadeveon Clowney until Saturday, when the defensive linemen rotate through the media room (Room is not a great description. Think banquet hall with two hundred or so media members and about as many TV cameras.) at Lucas Oil Stadium.
   
    Here’s the problem for Clowney: talking won’t do him a lot of good. Oh, he’ll be asked to talk. And plenty. Questions about his work ethic started long before Steve Spurrier went on NFL Network and called it “OK” on Wednesday. He will be asked again and again how hard he’s going to work when he gets a fat paycheck, and he’ll say the exact right thing. The problem is, he will be expected to say the right thing. There’s no reason he shouldn’t. He will have been coached by who knows how many people hired by his agent to say the right thing. If executives are inclined to believe him, they will. If they don’t, they won’t.
   
    Here’s problem two for Clowney: everyone expects him to be an otherworldly freak. There’s almost no time or measurement he can post that will shock people. Oh, he’ll inspire some oohs and aahs when he runs the 40, but everyone expects to be oohed and aahed so it won’t make as big an impact.
   
    Now, it’s important to keep these problems in the proper context. If the next two months are an absolute disaster for Clowney and he comes off as bad as possible, his punishment will be that he slides all the way down to say No. 5 overall in the NFL Draft. As floors go, that’s a pretty cushy one.
   
    Today’s combine schedule doesn’t include any former Gamecocks. Clemson’s Brandon Thomas is expected to speak, as is Furman product and West Columbia native Dakota Dozier, who along with being one of the best offensive linemen in FCS this year is a cellist.

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