The MMQB’s Peter King reported this morning that South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will not work out for teams before the draft, and King states that one reason could be the unfortunate ACL tear that Clemson Tigers star offensive lineman Brandon Thomas suffered in a private workout with the New Orleans Saints. Clowney took things a little more lightly than many would have liked last season due to worries about an injury affecting his draft stock, and he doesn’t want that to happen this close to the draft. Per King, Clowney’s camp has told “at least three teams” that he won’t work out for them and will instead have his pro day, previous workouts, Combine, and game tape as the main pieces of his evaluation. He’ll still visit and talk with teams, but he won’t be put through workouts by them.
This report has set off a chain of the usual Clowney critics bringing up the age old argument about how he lacks work ethic and will bust because of his arrogance and lack of drive. Others speculated that it could be because he already knows his draft stock is safe and has nothing to prove. Backing up this latter, more developed argument is a report from the Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, who tweets that people he’s spoken with “around the league believe” Clowney is not working out anymore because he already knows he will be picked first overall.
Miller’s report will send the Clowney rumor mill spinning even more, but this makes plenty of sense. The Houston Texans, as King reported in the piece linked in the first paragraph, are among the teams wary about taking a quarterback with their first round pick and have been rumored for quite some time to be interested in taking Clowney and then a QB in the second round. They may have told Clowney that they will take him, but there’s also a chance they are trading the pick to a team smitten with Clowney- perhaps the Atlanta Falcons- and he’s been informed of this as well. It could be neither of these cases, but it is worth noting that the Texans have expressed interest in trading down for the right price.