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NFL draft rules a bad deal for Jadeveon Clowney

Georgia v South Carolina Getty Images

To say that South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was the best player on the field today at the Outback Bowl against Michigan is accurate, but it doesn’t quite capture just how dominant a force Clowney is. So let’s put it this way: Clowney looks like he might be the best player on the field in some NFL games, too.

But Clowney, who led the SEC in sacks in 2012, won’t be playing on Sundays in 2013. Instead, Clowney — who is only two years out of high school — will have to return to South Carolina for another year because of the NFL rule that requires all players to be at least three years out of high school before they can play in the league.

That’s a rule that has been agreed to by the owners and the NFL Players Association, and it survived a court challenge from Maurice Clarett, so the rule isn’t going anywhere. But it’s a raw deal for players like Clowney, who has to risk an injury in his junior year before he can enter the 2014 NFL draft.

Based on his on-field production at South Carolina and his stunning athleticism, it’s highly likely that Clowney would be the first overall pick of the Kansas City Chiefs if he were able to enter the 2013 NFL draft. Clowney made some jaw-dropping plays against Michigan, most notably a shocking hit and forced fumble behind the line of scrimmage on which he initially appeared to have decapitated Michigan running back Vincent Smith, but fortunately just knocked his helmet off. At 6-foot-6 and 256 pounds, Clowney already has an NFL body. And he’s already good enough to be a top overall NFL draft pick.

Instead, Clowney has to risk injury for another year (and he can ask his teammate Marcus Lattimore how that can work out). Here’s hoping that Clowney stays healthy during a 2013 season in which he’ll be contending for a Heisman Trophy, instead of contending for a rookie of the year award.

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82 Responses to “NFL draft rules a bad deal for Jadeveon Clowney”
  1. jaggedmark says: Jan 1, 2013 4:48 PM

    Already the Heisman front runner for 2013

  2. fitz66 says: Jan 1, 2013 4:51 PM

    Nobody is making him play next year.

  3. mastodonry says: Jan 1, 2013 4:51 PM

    And for every 1 Clowney there will be a dozen idiots who leave early and get hurt or never mature enough. The rule is fine. This isn’t baseball or basketball.

  4. Paul Stagg says: Jan 1, 2013 4:53 PM

    You know he doesn’t have to play, right?

    NFL rule is 3 years out of high school, it doesn’t say a thing about having to play football in college. So if injury is such a scary thing, he can sit out and wait for the following year draft.

    Of course, real competitors don’t do that.

  5. twfur says: Jan 1, 2013 4:53 PM

    Time for the NFL to reinstate Gregg Williams they let everyone else off..

  6. pondbridge says: Jan 1, 2013 4:54 PM

    Welcome to the CFL for one year, Jadeveon!

  7. blackngold4life says: Jan 1, 2013 4:54 PM

    Clowney = Manchild just Whipped my Wolverines and almost decapitated ShoeLace! REDICULOUS

  8. britishraven says: Jan 1, 2013 4:55 PM

    He’s probably praying that a good team has a bad year next year so he can go somewhere other than Kansas City, Jacksonville or Oakland.

  9. onlysane1intheroom says: Jan 1, 2013 4:55 PM

    It’s a good rule…one that would serve the NBA well.

  10. seeptermean says: Jan 1, 2013 4:55 PM

    I think it’s ridiculous that players can’t enter the draft until 3 years after they leave high school. If he can play at the next level, then let him play. I think Adrian Peterson could have been in the NFL as a freshman in college, there’d be no doubt that he’d be the eventual league all-time leading rusher.

  11. shogunassasin30 says: Jan 1, 2013 4:55 PM

    Wah..This is why college football is superior to college basketball because all of the best players stay for atleast 3 years. The quality of play in college basketball is god awful, and guys like Tim Duncan that stay all 4 years are extremely rare. Genetic freaks like Clowney that are ready to play a violent sport with men don’t come often enough to necessitate an NCAA rule change either

  12. primetimewr9 says: Jan 1, 2013 4:56 PM

    Hopefully this freak has a longer shelf life than Jevon Kearse – another Spurrier coached phenom.

  13. megatronn81 says: Jan 1, 2013 4:56 PM

    This kid is an absolute monster. He’ll be a stud in the NFL

  14. steelernationisthepinnacleofexistenceyouarenothing says: Jan 1, 2013 4:56 PM

    He could have played in the NFL right out of high school.

  15. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects says: Jan 1, 2013 4:56 PM

    this kid looked like a #1 overall pick 2 years ago when he was playing for south point high school in rock hill.

  16. Wisconsin77 says: Jan 1, 2013 4:57 PM

    A blessing in disguise, it will give him another year to go through a few more steroid cycles before he faces tougher testing in the NFL.

  17. larrybrown43 says: Jan 1, 2013 4:57 PM

    Too bad. I’m for the rule to always be upheld. If not, college football becomes the charade college basketball is.

  18. mrlaloosh says: Jan 1, 2013 4:57 PM

    Clown rule. ey

  19. luponatrix says: Jan 1, 2013 4:57 PM

    With the way Clowney plays, he could have a leg amputated next season and still get taken in the 4th round.

  20. mike106 says: Jan 1, 2013 4:58 PM

    This guy is a beast……

  21. stampnhawk says: Jan 1, 2013 4:59 PM

    Absolute crushing hit. Will see that hit at the end of the year on the plays of the year…after a blatantly bad call on a spot.

    Got Tirico fired up…goes without saying for Gruden.

    Tough rule, I guess, if the only reason for college is a feeding system for the NFL. Hopefully the young man makes the most of maturing as a player and person, and another year of getting an education.

  22. jakethesnake57 says: Jan 1, 2013 4:59 PM

    Waiting 3 years after high school is a good rule overall. Clowney will get his chance. The kid is a beast though.

  23. marshawnlynchlookslikepredator says: Jan 1, 2013 4:59 PM

    Way to jinx him..

  24. zombiebuddha says: Jan 1, 2013 5:00 PM

    He should just take next year to train with NFL caliber trainers and MMA training in preparation for the 2014 NFL draft.

  25. jaggedmark says: Jan 1, 2013 5:01 PM

    Kansas City Chiefs hate the rule right now.

  26. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Jan 1, 2013 5:03 PM

    Loyds of London will write him an huge insurance policy and it will not cost him anything upfront. It’s how that works. It will be expensive for him, but not until he signs his first NFL deal. And it’s a great deal for him to protect his earnings power if he should be injured. It’s not rocket science and very common.

  27. hyzers says: Jan 1, 2013 5:03 PM

    Great player but no one even bothered to block him on that play…

  28. kev86 says: Jan 1, 2013 5:06 PM

    Jets might have #1 pick next year.

  29. pacodawg says: Jan 1, 2013 5:06 PM

    No sympathy here, those r the rules. He can pick another profession if he chooses too.

  30. opinion157983 says: Jan 1, 2013 5:09 PM

    I agree with the rule. The last thing the league needs is even MORE immaturity.

  31. pickney1 says: Jan 1, 2013 5:12 PM

    How about just letting The Kid enjoy college life, being the man on campus along with close to home.

    Football is only temporary, the education he can receive can and will last him well beyond his NFL career. As talented player that he may be there are young man who have chosen to stay another because they enjoy the college lifestyle, and a man that talented will find his way on someone’s roster when he is ready.

  32. ravennation2013 says: Jan 1, 2013 5:14 PM

    Clowny to raiders and teo

  33. odessabucs says: Jan 1, 2013 5:16 PM

    He’s 19 years old!

  34. eaglesooneru2 says: Jan 1, 2013 5:18 PM

    Watching the game I saw clowney take several plays off and lewan did a pretty good job neutralizing him I thought.

  35. cometkazie says: Jan 1, 2013 5:19 PM

    At least the NFL does something right.

    College basketball is a travesty.

  36. rashardmendenballs says: Jan 1, 2013 5:25 PM

    The rule is working just fine.

    If Clowney wants to get paid, then he can go north to Canada and play a season in the CFL.

  37. canetic says: Jan 1, 2013 5:25 PM

    He can take this year off and focus on getting a South Carolina education.

  38. tedmurph says: Jan 1, 2013 5:26 PM

    It’s a good rule. Players that age are neither physically nor mentally mature enough for the rigors of the NFL, no matter how physically gifted they are. They can get insurance against injury, especially now that the new CBA is in place. You’re talking about a 15mil signing bonus as opposed to 60 mil before. Even the high school/one and done players of the NBA usually take some time, not to mention the physicality involved in the NFL a 21 yr old would have to match up with.

  39. profootballwalk says: Jan 1, 2013 5:28 PM

    On that play – he came in totally unblocked, and the guy obviously didn’t have his chin strap set and snapped properly. A helmet should never come off, even if you’re hit with a baseball bat. Nice play, but the sleeping blocker made it happen.

  40. remyje says: Jan 1, 2013 5:34 PM

    that hit gave me cold chills the whole time I was replaying the video for a good 5 minutes.. from a 3 point stance with only a few steps he was able obliterate that guy wow

  41. drainbameged says: Jan 1, 2013 5:36 PM

    Drowning for Clowney 2012

  42. kepickle says: Jan 1, 2013 5:36 PM

    It’s a great Rule & I infact think they should be allowed to enter the NFL Draft till they Finish College

  43. vikinganswer says: Jan 1, 2013 5:41 PM

    He is football ready he just isnt life ready. Good rule. The NBA is killing college basketball but then again so is college football. Who cares if the Big East was horrible in FB. It was great in basketball. Dont tell me College Presidents that its not about money. You are making me consider paying college atheletes which is the dumbest thing to ever do.

  44. dalucks says: Jan 1, 2013 5:42 PM

    It is a great rule becuase Clowney is a rare exception to the rule. Learn from the NBA and do not open that door because it will cause a flood of unprepared players.
    Jaydaveon Clowney should take out an insurance policy with Lords of London to protect himself if he is concerned about injury.
    If injury is a real concern then he could reshirt and sit out all next season then apply for the 2014 NFL draft if the injury of risk is greater than his reward for playing his junior season. What does he have left to prove?

  45. cometkazie says: Jan 1, 2013 5:52 PM

    So it’s all about money?

    Be a shame if he had to work a real job like the rest of us.

  46. hedphurst says: Jan 1, 2013 6:03 PM

    To those saying that he doesn’t have to play another season, refer to Mike Williams and Maurice Clarett. They sat out a year after the rule was challenged and upheld, and were never the same. You can’t stay in “football shape” without actually playing football for a full year.

  47. kingdm8 says: Jan 1, 2013 6:04 PM

    Roger would’ve fined him for that hit.

  48. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins says: Jan 1, 2013 6:04 PM

    Already SHOULD BE * the Heisman front runner for 2013.

    Fixed it for you guys, because no matter how deserving he’ll be, he plays defense so he won’t win. You could put Ray Lewis in his prime on a college team and the close minded voters would still just give it to whatever QB they can find.

  49. mungman69 says: Jan 1, 2013 6:10 PM

    Let him play in the NFL.

  50. radrntn says: Jan 1, 2013 6:11 PM

    This is one rule the NFL is 100% correct on,as well as a rookie salary cap…..gives these kid s time to develop.plus I am not sure if he is a top 5 pick this year.

  51. rgboogie says: Jan 1, 2013 6:15 PM

    And to think South Carolina had him and Melvin Ingram last year. Wow

  52. thefiesty1 says: Jan 1, 2013 6:27 PM

    That decapitation hit was the best hit in football this year. Wow. He deserves better than going to a sorry team that earned the first pick.

  53. hybes1 says: Jan 1, 2013 6:39 PM

    While the NFL is a grown man’s game, my issue is that in a majority of pro sports, young kids out of high school can become pros but in the NFL and in the NBA . At 18, a kid can become a soldier but in those leagues, there’s roadblocks. Clowney should go to the NFL & get paid plus he’s ready

  54. EJ says: Jan 1, 2013 6:40 PM

    The rule is a good one. The players that enter the draft as Juniors get into the NFL and blow every dime they earn because they are young and irresponsible. Imagine if they were to let these kids come into the league even earlier? What a mess that would be.

  55. otis52gsh says: Jan 1, 2013 6:50 PM

    The rule is a good one. Leave it alone please.

  56. macker1283 says: Jan 1, 2013 7:09 PM

    The NFL has this right…obviously. The NBA ruined its college sport (and its own league) by allowing high schoolers to skip college. They have guys at the age of 28 whose careers are basically over because their bodies think they are 45. Ask Jermaine O’Neal or Tracy McGrady about that.

  57. darknessspreads says: Jan 1, 2013 7:16 PM

    This is a terrible rule, of course – we don’t protect tennis players, golfers, or gymnasts in the same way.

    As it is, Clowney should see if he can get a one-year deal in the CFL and make a little money off of his skills rather than the (likely useless) college degree he’s getting now. And yes, I went to college (and graduate school), but you see how much that gets most folks in this economy. Having a trade (welder, plumber) would be better in lots of cases.

    It’s terrible that an adult like Clowney is locked out of selling his skills for as high a price as he can negotiate, but there you have it.

  58. houstontexans99 says: Jan 1, 2013 7:16 PM

    Heisman front runner…Ever heard of Johnny Manziel?

  59. ijahru says: Jan 1, 2013 7:19 PM

    He should stay until he graduates. The NFL career is short and doesn’t always pan out due to injuries or a slip in production. With the new rookie salaries he isn’t going to become rich unless he gets to the second contract.

  60. braven4evr says: Jan 1, 2013 7:26 PM

    for those of you saying that “he doesn’t have to play” what are the odds that SC doesn’t pull his scholarship “if he doesn’t play?”

  61. christopher525 says: Jan 1, 2013 7:30 PM

    So, what this means is that my Carolina Panthers need to tank next year…

  62. tigers182 says: Jan 1, 2013 7:31 PM

    More than any other sport, the NFL needs to let players develop physically to enter the league. Men continue growing until they’re 21-22 years old. Open field tackles in the NFL are like being in minor car accident with no seat belt. And it’s not like he’s losing years of making money. If he last 10 years in the league he can do it from 21-31 just as easy as 20-30.

    Everyone thought 19 year old Amobi Okoye was ready and look how that turned out. He couldn’t compete physically, lost confidence, didn’t develop properly and is struggling to stay in the league.

  63. md228010 says: Jan 1, 2013 7:32 PM

    remember Jonathan Bender… well kobe turned out all right. much better than Kerry Kittles and Erick Dampier who were taken before him that year

  64. jiggy3198 says: Jan 1, 2013 7:34 PM

    With the way the steelers are headed he can be drafted by them following there 2-14 record and number one overall pick in 2014

  65. ghostofgilchrist says: Jan 1, 2013 7:34 PM

    He, and every other college player should be getting paid now.

  66. keepingitrealdumb says: Jan 1, 2013 7:37 PM

    i do not understand how the “risk of injury” argument can have any weight with any thinking person.

    this is football .. if you don’t want to get injured then don’t play football. get an office job and sit in a cubicle like i did .. i have never torn an ACL sitting in my cube .. nor any co-worker i ever worked with or heard about.

    its like what bill belichick said: “football players play football” .. don’t want to play football cause you might get hurt? then don’t play

  67. wethog66 says: Jan 1, 2013 8:01 PM

    My chosen profession requires a 4 year degree in a specific field. The NFL requires players to be 3 years out of high school. Whats the problem?

  68. jamezz23 says: Jan 1, 2013 8:03 PM

    Clowney is definitely good and makes just eye poping plays, but he got blocked up good all day by Taylor lewan who is respectfully the best tackle in college. His monster hit was a blown block assignment not by lewan either. When he was 1v1 with lewan I’d say clowney got manhandled for the most part.

  69. tomtravis76 says: Jan 1, 2013 9:34 PM

    The athletes should be getting paid while in College.

    Since the rule is 3 years out of HS, then every freshman should be redshirted his first year. First to help the young man adjust to college life. Second to learn the system. And finally the player only puts 2 years of game contact on his body.

  70. flr29 says: Jan 1, 2013 10:21 PM

    This rule is sad, as is the support for it here. Absent restrictions mandated by law (19 year olds cannot tend bar) in the US an adult should be able to earn a living based on his ability, not artificial, anti-competitive restrictions. Outside of the NFL and NBA, every other top sports league in the world lets the best players play.

    The paternalistic attitude people have toward college football and basketball players is unfortunate.

  71. vuudu says: Jan 1, 2013 10:23 PM

    In these times, it is not wise to go for defense with your early picks. Get QB and stud WR and you will get big completions or PIs or whatever they call nowadays…….. defenseless untouchable offensive player.

  72. bensstinkyfingers says: Jan 1, 2013 10:44 PM

    First time I had a chance to see this kid was today and wow he looked like a man playing amongst boys. Now I do not feel so bad that my browns are once again rebuilding and will more than likely be in the running for this kidin 2014 draft. Sad but true.

  73. 209erfan says: Jan 1, 2013 11:03 PM

    One more year of playing in the sec will only make clowney a more dominant and NFL ready prospect… and that’s just downright scary and ridiculous to think about

  74. em26jamie says: Jan 1, 2013 11:04 PM

    That was the only play he made and he was completely unblocked. Even LT said anyone can be a star when no one blocks you. Didn’t change the game one bit, since Michigan blocked the FG. He was completely neutralized by Lewan. He did draw a questionable holding call, but that was it. How he was the player of the game is beyond me. USC QB should have been. At least he could hit an open WR, unlike the Michigan QB.

  75. denverwally says: Jan 1, 2013 11:09 PM

    Suggestion for Mr. Clowney – hit the weight room big time. 256 lbs in the NFL means getting steamrolled by pulling guards. But he does look like a hell of a player.

  76. ron69 says: Jan 1, 2013 11:13 PM

    What happens if this kid gets better? he could hurt somebody for real, then he might be the first human being in history not to be allowed to play american football sounds wierd but after watching that hit the rb from Michigan took he got lucky wasn’t hurt bad.

  77. ilovefoolsball says: Jan 2, 2013 12:36 AM

    The rule is fine. He doesn’t have to do anything that the other thousands of players did.

  78. rangenius says: Jan 2, 2013 1:54 AM

    Wow a lot of people on here like this rule?
    No wonder we are be coming a communist police state. This grown man should be able to earn a living next year in NFL… Or I guess he could go fight in Iraq…

  79. jamezz23 says: Jan 2, 2013 5:19 AM

    He’s an unbelievable talent but I doubt Jake long or Joe Thomas are loosing any sleep from this kid

  80. whynotusecommonsense says: Jan 2, 2013 9:43 AM

    This is actually a sad position to take regarding college athletics. I know it’s no longer true given the payday that comes with entering the NFL, but the original purpose of college athletics/scholarships was to provide an avenue to an education. You know education, the primary purpose of college.

    It would be great if these kids actually got their degrees considering that the average NFL career is only slightly longer than the time they’ll spend at college.

    But then I guess we wouldn’t have those wonderful stories about former athletes that are broke, blaming the sports they played for all their misfortune.

  81. florida727 says: Jan 2, 2013 10:29 AM

    Not to worry Chiefs fans. He’ll be your #1 pick in the 2014 draft too :)

    Seriously though, for every one kid like Clowney that gets hurt by this rule, there are probably dozens who benefit from it. I’m not an NFL fan, I prefer the college game, by the fact is: the NFL is a MAN’S game. Some of these kids, as talented as they are, just are not mature enough to take on the rigors of the NFL. Again, Clowney appears to be the/an exception. But in general, the rule probably fulfills its purpose.

    Now, if the ‘Ol Ball Coach wants to hold him out of next year’s Florida game, you know, to avoid potential injury before he gets drafted, I’m okay with that.

  82. tdk24 says: Jan 3, 2013 5:46 PM

    Michael Bush broke his leg in his last year and he’s makin’ bucks!

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