As expected, following the end of the Capital One Bowl, Jadeveon Clowney is entering the 2014 NFL Draft. Clowney is a 6’6″ defensive end who may have been the #1 overall pick last year had he been allowed to enter. Clowney was dominate last year, concluding with the huge hit on the Michigan running back in the bowl game. This year Clowney has been double and tripled teamed throughout the year and his numbers took a big dip. Clowney’s motor and desire to play have been questioned as he may have been trying to avoid injury before the draft.
The Cleveland Browns have the #4 pick in the 2014 draft, with many assuming they will look to draft a franchise quarterback. Yet what may the Browns do if their top 2 QBs are off the board, a reasonable possibility with both the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars needing a QB and drafting ahead of the Browns. This could leave the Browns with a choice between 2 out of these 3 high level prospects: Clemson Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins, Texas A&M Offensive Tackle Jake Matthews and Clowney. Could Clowney be a Brownie?
The Browns haven’t made a choice yet for their new head coach and with it what defensive scheme the team would use. Rumors of Jim Schwartz being destined for the Defensive Coordinator position means a change to the 4-3 is possible. The new regime has made it clear that getting after the quarterback is high priority for them. Adding Clowney would be another huge asset at getting pressure on the opposition. With his size, 6’6″ and 274 lbs Clowney is an inch taller and about 25 lighter then the Browns’ other defensive end Desmond Bryant. Adding Clowney to a line with Bryant and monster Phil Taylor would free up the outside linebacker trio of Jabaal Sheard, Paul Kruger and #6 overall pick Barkevious Mingo to attack the quarterback.
Finding a place for Clowney in a 4-3 front is a little more difficult. None of the current OLBs have a history of playing linebacker in a 4-3. Mingo played end at LSU in that defense as did Kruger at Utah and Sheard at Pitt. It would be tough for any of those players to transition to such a significant change. The Browns would then have 4 players for 2 positions but have a need for 2 starting linebackers.
The biggest reason many would be against the Browns drafting Clowney is adding more resources to a “position of strength” for the team. Spending money on Kruger and drafting Mingo last year, the Browns took heat for not addressing the teams needs and adding to the pile of players at similar positions. Would drafting perhaps the best prospect on the defensive side of the ball since Julius Peppers make this risk worth it? Could the new regime ignore other positions, specifically QB, after a failure in their first year together?
How would you react to the Browns drafting Clowney? Do you see it as a way to be dominate in one aspect of the game or a waste of high level resources?