Jadeveon Clowney pulled a move early yesterday morning that most draft prospects would consider career suicide: He canceled all his workouts.
Jadeveon Clowney won't be doing any more individual workouts in wake of Clemson T Brandon Thomas' knee injury. (via @themmqb)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 14, 2014
Jadeveon Clowney won’t do on-field workouts for any team. He will do 1 3-5 minute drill for 1 team that requested it because risk is minimal— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 14, 2014
Just asked an @NFL top executive if he cares that Jadeveon Clowney won’t do private workouts. "No. He did everything at his pro day."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 15, 2014
Then again, Jadeveon Clowney is not most prospects. The 6’5", 266 pound defensive end has been considered a possible first overall draft selection since before he could vote, and that distinction has not shifted one inch during his stint at South Carolina. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has supposedly asked around the league, and he was told that the reason for Clowney’s refusal to work out is not actually due to Brandon Thomas’ knee injury last week. Rather, it's that Clowney already knows who his new team will be.
People I've talked to around the league believe Clowney is not working out because he's been told he'll be the No. 1 pick.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 14, 2014
The Texans making a public decision on the number one overall pick before the NFL Draft even takes place is certainly not unprecedented, especially when the last time they did it was for the other "once in a generation defensive end" from the Carolinas. When one considers the trade of Matt Schaub, the late free agency signing of Ryan Fitzpatrick as a stop-gap option, the need for a complementary pass rusher to J.J. Watt, and the heavy interest in Clowney from the Texans' organization throughout this draft process, it is not far-fetched to believe that Rick Smith and Bill O’Brien have already decided on their guy. Sending Clowney on additional workouts that will have no meaning and possibly risk injury would help neither the team nor Clowney, so it seemingly makes a lot of sense for everyone involved. Then again, the likelihood of Clowney being the newest Houston Texan will not stop Rick Smith and Company from bringing in other top prospects to cover all their bases. One can never be too careful.
What do you think, BRB? Has Jadeveon Clowney just been not so secretly declared the first overall pick of the draft with the event itself still nearly a month away?