South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end and NFL prospect Jadeveon Clowney has been criticized for not having a good work ethic. His head coach at South Carolina Steve Spurrier said Clowney’s work ethic was just OK. And there have been rumblings that NFL front office people question his work ethic because he didn’t have a great 2013 season in college.
And while it did seem that Clowney may have coasted during the season, the question I have is, was that really a bad idea? Clowney had already cemented himself as a possible number one pick the previous season. And many believed that if he could have entered the 2013 NFL draft, he would have been the number one pick then.
So did it really make sense for Clowney to risk injury by going all out and playing hard for free this past season? Look no farther than Clowney’s former South Carolina teammate, running back Marcus Lattimore. Who, after an outstanding freshman season suffered two devastating knee injuries in college which damaged his draft stock.
Steve Spurrier may be disappointed that Clowney didn’t have the huge season that he wanted from him. But in my opinion Clowney shouldn’t have been at South Carolina last season to begin with. He should have been getting paid for his services in the NFL. But the league’s rules regarding underclassmen prevented that from happening.
So while NFL front office people question Jadeveon Clowney’s work ethic, they should also look at the reality of the situation. Would Clowney have still been considered a top pick in the draft if he had suffered a catastrophic knee injury last season? The answer is no.
Jadeveon Clowney had to make sure he made it through the 2013 season with his health in tact, and he did. Questioning Clowney’s work ethic is logical, but I wouldn’t read too much into it if I were an NFL executive. He’s been sitting on a winning lottery ticket, and had to wait over a year to cash it in.
I think a team that passes over him because they think he’s lazy is making a huge mistake. Clowney bucked the system by not going all out last season for free in college, and some people are holding that against him. If he’d torn an ACL, I doubt those criticizing him now would really care. And that’s why I think Clowney is lot smarter than he is lazy.