In the least surprising news of the day, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has confirmed that he will enter the 2014 NFL draft.
Clowney, who likely would have been the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft if not for the rule requiring players to be three years out of high school before they can turn pro, has never made any secret that he wants to get to the NFL as soon as he can. Having completed the third season of his brilliant college career, he’s now free to make a living playing football. Clowney confirmed after South Carolina beat Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl that he’s done in college.
The question now is which team will draft him. The Texans own the first overall pick and will consider pairing him with J.J. Watt on what would become a terrifying defensive line, but Houston would seem more likely to draft a quarterback first overall. The Rams own the second overall pick, but St. Louis has two good young defensive ends in Robert Quinn and Chris Long, so the Rams likely wouldn’t draft Clowney. The Jaguars at No. 3, Browns at No. 4 and Raiders at No. 5 would all seem to have bigger needs at quarterback, but there aren’t enough quarterbacks to go around (and it’s almost impossible to imagine Clowney dropping all the way to the Falcons at No. 6), so one of those teams may be the destination for Clowney.
Of course, the truth is it’s way too early to predict the draft, which is still more than four months away. What we can say with virtual certainty is that when the first round of the draft begins on May 8, Clowney’s will be one of the first names called.