2014 NFL Draft: Jadeveon Clowney Pro Day Review

The man at 1.1? - Streeter Lecka

Star defensive end and athletic phenom Jadeveon Clowney participated in his long-awaited Pro Day this morning. Was he good enough to lock himself in as the first overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft?

Jadeveon Clowney needed to wow people at his pro day after abstaining from most drills at the NFL Combine, and by all accounts, he did just that.

Clowney's workout was short on measured drills, though he did show remarkable explosiveness and balance in leaping seven bags during a test administered by St. Louis Rams' defensive line coach Jim Washburn.

Clowney, as well as defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles and edge rusher Chaz Sutton individually lined up in front of four horizontally-placed blocking bags. Each player was asked to leap flat-footed over them, land on both feet, take a few steps and then reach down to pick up tennis balls. Quarles and Sutton, each very athletic in their own right, weren't able to keep up with Clowney, who appeared to easily handle the pressure of extra bags being added after each successful leap.

According to the contingent of NFL Network announcers covering the Pro Day live, no one has ever successfully made the seven bag leap.

However, my main concern with Clowney was never explosiveness; it was always the stiffness that he showed on tape despite incredible power and straight-line speed. If he dropped ten pounds going into the Combine, I at least wanted to see him run some drills to show that he can be fluid enough to handle the linebacker position. Unfortunately for me, those drills did not happen...until today, that is. I questioned Clowney’s "bendability" as a pass rusher because he never really showed a true dip n’ rip speed rush on tape, but seeing him run the classic circle drill at South Carolina’s pro day showed that he is capable of getting low enough to rip under a tackle on the edge.

Clowney also finally showed what he could do in space while dropping into coverage. While not nearly as quick-footed as smaller outside linebacker prospects like Khalil Mack or Dee Ford, he showed acceptable fluidity in coverage to the point that I think he could do it for a few snaps a game without being a major liability. For a full recap of the day, let’s turn it over to Twitter.

What do you think, BRB? Has Clowney answered your questions like he answered mine? Would you be comfortable taking him first overall?

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