To see a top prospect end workouts with a few weeks left before the draft isn’t a common occurrence, but it’s also not a big deal either.
Peter King of TheMMQB.com broke the news that Jadeveon Clowney wouldn’t be involved in any more individual workouts. King notes that one of the reasons is likely Brandon Thomas’ torn ACL, but that’s just a secondary reason. In reality, there’s nothing more for Clowney to prove, and there’s little to no reason for him to continue traveling all over the country to see teams when it’s apparent he’ll be gone by the fifth pick in the draft.
These individual workouts are largely over-glorified in the draft process. The truth is film of Clowney’s action in live games means far more to talent scouts than what he can do in shorts in perfect conditions. All these factors combine to make any more workouts virtually meaningless with far more potential to harm his draft stock than help.
The sole concern heading into this year’s draft season in regard to Clowney has been the perception that his work ethic isn’t great. Although his work ethic has been defended (sort of) by those that have come out saying his work ethic is good, no one has called him one of the hardest workers in the locker room, and that has put a damper on his stock.
Despite the questions, Clowney has become the consensus first overall pick in the draft, largely due to the falling stock of the top quarterbacks in the draft class. Clowney’s raw talent is seen as a better investment than taking a shot on a quarterback that probably isn’t talented enough to be taken so high in the draft. Had there been a potentially elite quarterback prospect in the draft class, Clowney would almost certainly be relegated to at least the second pick in the draft, but as there’s no top quarterback prospect, his path to becoming Houston’s selection with the first overall pick seems pretty clear of obstacles.
It’s still possible Clowney could fall beyond the first pick in the draft, but by not working out, he’s actually limiting that possibility to nearly zero. Unless the Texans just don’t like what they see in him now, he’ll almost certainly be the first player to walk across the stage. There may be some general managers and coaches that wanted another up close and personal look at Clowney, but Ian Rapoport summed up the reality of the situation in one tweet.
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
Don’t expect this decision to make a difference on draft day.