That's what one told Mark Eckel of The Times in Trenton, N.J.:
“He’s spoiled, and he’s lazy,’’ the NFC personnel man said. “He’s never worked hard a day in his life, now all of a sudden you’re going to give him a bunch of money and expect him to work hard. I don’t see it.’’
“Oh, he’s going to be a high pick,’’ the personnel man said. “Some team will fall in love with him. But wait and see, just wait and see. I just don’t think you can count on him. I’m betting the under on him.’’
It's hard to parse out how much of this is wrong.
The unnamed executive is likely referring to Clowney's underwhelming junior season. Between his nagging injuries and lack of production, 2013 was a year to forget for the South Carolina star. There's no getting around that.
Perhaps Clowney did coast in his final season as a Gamecock. But when you see your former teammate's knee explode in the previous season and his draft stock tumble as a result, you'd be forgiven if you opted to put a premium on staying healthy and protecting your potential NFL career.
Almost every NFL fan can see that Clowney is freak of nature who only comes along once every decade or so. He's a transcendent talent.
Even that doesn't make him immune to getting dumped on by anonymous scouts or team executives.
As Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio wrote, this is how things go in the weeks and months before the NFL draft:
Lies get told all the time in the NFL, and the pre-draft process contains the highest concentration of them. The audience needs to understand that when trying to assess the value of such observations.
Here’s the answer, in a nutshell: There is none.
Florio also questioned whether it's fair to print unsubstantiated harsh comments:
For that reason, we hope the media will think twice before serving as the conduit for unnamed scouts dumping on kids who are finally in line to get paid for the risks they assume and the efforts they contribute.
Right up until draft night, you'll keep hearing the same smear campaigns made against the top stars as teams try whatever it takes to have the right player fall to them. If a college kid's name has to get dragged through the mud, so be it.
In the end, none of it will even matter. Clowney will almost certainly be one of the top two or three picks in the draft, which begs the question: What's the purpose of all this nonsense?
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