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Clowney gets only 21 reps in the bench, but what does that mean?

Clowney Getty Images

The various events of the Underwear Olympics include one of the events of the real Olympics.  Sort of.

The Summer Games include weightlifting, but not the bench press.  In Indianapolis, one of the various tasks for the incoming recruits consists of pushing 225 pounds off the chest as many times as possible.

As Hall of Famer Warren Sapp has said during the coverage of the Scouting Combine in the past, they don’t put a weight bench on the football field during games.  Former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney may now want to say the same thing.

Clowney managed a mere 21 reps on Sunday.  That’s three fewer than quarterback Brady Quinn pushed out seven years ago.

But Clowney got five more than Sapp’s 16 in 1995.  (Sapp, who confirmed his total via text message this morning, points out that he pressed 225 pounds 16 times “and racked it.”)  Despite the showing in the teens, things worked out fairly well for Sapp.

Not surprisingly, NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock shrugged at the result for Clowney.

“He’s an interesting deal,” Mayock said in a press conference after Sunday’s workouts. “The average I think for defensive linemen last year in the bench press was 24, so should Jadeveon Clowney have more than 24?  Sure he should. However, he has long arms and I always say to people it’s the shorter, barrel-chested guys that rep out the most. But does it go to work ethic?  He got 21. I really don’t care. And by the way, if he runs 4.42 or 4.62 [on Monday in the 40-yard dash], I really don’t care. I already think I know what he is: he’s the scariest,freakiest, physical specimen I’ve ever seen since I’ve been doing this as a potential upside defensive lineman. However, that doesn’t mean I’m saying he’s the best defensive lineman in the draft or the best play er in the draft because he worries me with some of the red flags.”

Mayock has raved about linebacker/defensive end Khalil Mack, with Mayock recently saying he’d take Mack before Clowney.  Mack got only two more reps in the 225-pound bench press than Clowney.

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33 Responses to “Clowney gets only 21 reps in the bench, but what does that mean?”
  1. joetoronto says: Feb 24, 2014 7:53 AM

    This is yet another red flag, dude is gonna take the money and run.

  2. enochmh2 says: Feb 24, 2014 7:54 AM

    ‘Only’

  3. canetic says: Feb 24, 2014 7:56 AM

    I wonder if it is harder to bust out reps when your arms are longer? I’d like to see what his reps were compared to other people his height (excluding linemen who are just massive).

  4. pantherfan40 says: Feb 24, 2014 7:56 AM

    doesnt mean nothing hes lightning fast off the line and hes strong on the field , does not matter how much you bench . hope the falcons or bucs dont get this dude have too much respect for clowney as a south carolina fan and wouldn’t want him in the nfc south.

  5. elwaysagenius says: Feb 24, 2014 7:59 AM

    Unless the only way to make a tackle in the nfl next year is to lift a player above your head 25 times while laying on your back, this doesn’t mean much

  6. nyfootballgiants says: Feb 24, 2014 8:01 AM

    Clowney is going to get some coach fired with his “work ethic”

  7. zackd2 says: Feb 24, 2014 8:06 AM

    It seems numbers matter, except when they don’t.

    Sure it’s impressive if say a tackle presses 45 times, but it means nothing if he has poor footwork and ends up holding every time a rush end runs by him.

  8. reed20fence says: Feb 24, 2014 8:19 AM

    We’ve seen it time and again, here’s a guy that just wants his signing bonus and then he’ll turn on the cruise control. When your own college coach questions you work ethic and commitment, a guy whose own paycheck and legacy depends somewhat on how many pro players he churns out, you should do some serious thinking.

  9. hodag54501 says: Feb 24, 2014 8:28 AM

    Tells me he isn’t strong enough…yet. The old standard, “don’t let your mouth write checks you can’t cash”.

  10. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 24, 2014 8:29 AM

    I’ve been watching Mayock for many years and the one thing that is clear, well other than this being the deepest draft ever albeit one without any strong players, is that Mayock becomes a more interesting deal himself every year. He used to be a normal guy that liked to talk about football, but now he’s out of control with mad power.

    I guess I just have never seen somebody so high on a player before yet so terrified at the same time. But that’s what you do sometimes when you get famous on TV, you mix in a lot of intelligent stuff with a lot of babble and just keep talking and throwing piles of commentary out there, and then you reconcile it later to fit more precisely with how you feel when you really decide what your position was the whole time.

    I bet when Mayock plays roulette he places at least one chip on every number and then prays for no whammies. He wins every time.

  11. billsfan1 says: Feb 24, 2014 8:29 AM

    I think what it means is that in a college program for 3 years he did very little work. I would say that was mostly natural strength and some training.
    Does that mean he will bust? no, but it does show some concern for how much he wants to be great.

    In fact, his own coach offered up the same sentiments

  12. osubrndn says: Feb 24, 2014 8:30 AM

    it isn’t that many. 3 years ago I could only bench 145 as my max bench, within 2 years i was able to put up 225 13 times.

    If he’s been lifting all his life and using state of the art facilities and weighs aroudn 260, he should be able to do much more.

    though, in real non-football life, that is super strong still.

  13. lionsdraftguy says: Feb 24, 2014 8:32 AM

    I am more than 100 pounds lighter and I can get 16. Pretty sad for a “phenom”.

  14. grandpoopah says: Feb 24, 2014 8:34 AM

    I must be missing something. I kept hearing about how Clowney is the best pass rusher since LT, but then he managed just 3 sacks all season. Next I kept hearing about what an incredible “freak” athlete he is, but he put on a mediocre showing at the bench press. Now Mayock is preparing us for Clowney to run 4.6, while still assuring us that Clowney is a once in a generation athlete. Well, at least his arms are long. Caveat Emptor!

  15. mp4philly says: Feb 24, 2014 8:37 AM

    All these desk jockeys will comment and say it’s a sign. Meanwhile they’d struggle with 21 reps of 85 pounds.

  16. nolahxc says: Feb 24, 2014 8:46 AM

    That’s 21 more than me.

  17. unfkwthabl says: Feb 24, 2014 8:49 AM

    Jared Allen had 13 reps

    so its not so important for long arm quick guys.

  18. wswalcottmedshow says: Feb 24, 2014 8:59 AM

    The potential problem I see for Clowney and any team that drafts him is he could turn into an underachiever who just won’t work hard enough on conditioning. It could be the dilemma of having all the talent and none of the heart based on his last year in college.

  19. burrito12 says: Feb 24, 2014 8:59 AM

    It means he’s most likely going to be a bust, or bust a drug test. Too much hype around this guy that mostly stems from that one hit against Michigan 1 year ago.

  20. abanig says: Feb 24, 2014 9:02 AM

    It’s a non issue and he’s going to have a better career than Khalil Mack who IMO is a tweener.

    He’s a good player but if anyone knows anything about Mayock, he’s get a hard on every year for an under dog DE/DL at the combine every year and they don’t always pan out to be what he thought they’d be.

    IMO, Khalil Mack is this years Robert Ayers or Larry English for Mike Mayock!

  21. EJ says: Feb 24, 2014 9:04 AM

    No, they don’t put a weight bench out on the field during games, but they do put 300+lbs Offensive Lineman out there. The bench press is sort of compared to going up against those massive beast like O-Lineman the whole game. Putting up many reps shows that you have the stamina to keep pushing around the OL for long periods at a time. Is he(Clowney) going to stop on 3rd and 4 with 4:23 left in the game and take a break? It also goes back to his work ethic, which is sketchy as it is. Top 10 maybe, but he’s not going #1.

    Sapp had some good luck getting to play with the guys he did. He landed in a very good spot, that is why he was so successful.

  22. floratiotime says: Feb 24, 2014 9:08 AM

    The Raiders won’t draft him now.

  23. harveyredman says: Feb 24, 2014 9:08 AM

    21 translated to a single rep maximum is over 400 lbs. How much stronger does he really need to be? And is he declaring early. He will only get stronger.

    What I want to know is his 40-yard dash, vertical, and agility drill numbers. Those will speak to his explosion. If those numbers are weak, then there is a problem. If those numbers are strong, then he should go very early.

  24. chalkruz1989 says: Feb 24, 2014 9:12 AM

    I could care less about the bench press, especially when considering how long Jadeveon Clowney’s arms are.

    The main concern for me is the fact that he seemed to take plays off and Steve Spurrier’s comments about how his work ethic is average.

    Talent can get you through high school and college, but not the NFL. Clowney has endless potential but he’ll be facing the best in the world every Sunday.

  25. htowntexan says: Feb 24, 2014 9:16 AM

    I’m curious what this guy would have to do for some people to reconsider their evaluation of him. Awful 2013 year — doesn’t matter, best ever. Coach says bad work ethic — doesn’t matter, best ever. Below average strength — doesn’t matter, best ever.

    I just don’t get people that think like this.

  26. shaunypoo says: Feb 24, 2014 9:49 AM

    I see this guy hitting the rookie wall real hard. He was a man among boys in college, and he may manhandle a few guys early on, but I see conditioning being a real issue here.

  27. qdog112 says: Feb 24, 2014 10:29 AM

    At least Clowney showed and performed. There are a couple QBs who get all the press, who didn’t bother to throw.

    Bridgewater is the only guy who had license to not to throw. He has every throw on tape. While there is a certain WR who caught every jump ball Manzeil threw.

    Meanwhile, people have ignored all the Manzeil “warts”, that are there, if you choose to look.

  28. tremoluxman says: Feb 24, 2014 10:34 AM

    Doing reps in the bench-press at the combine is like breaking boards at a karate tournament. It’s all for show and doesn’t mean squat at Go Time.

  29. commonsense1986 says: Feb 24, 2014 11:31 AM

    I chalk it up to his height. I have longer arms and have always had trouble with the bench press. Just the way I’m built. My brother on the other hand is more barrel chested and a little shorter, he can crank out reps like crazy. Now when we’re working on the farm we can both do the same amount of work, but when it comes to that specific set of muscles, he’s set up differently. With Clowny’s speed and long arms he doesn’t have to be able to lift the linemen over his head, he has to be able to hold onto whoever he’s tackling. Let me know what his grip strength and reaction time is. That’s what I’d find relevant.

  30. willkill4caffeine says: Feb 24, 2014 11:32 AM

    canetic says: Feb 24, 2014 7:56 AM

    I wonder if it is harder to bust out reps when your arms are longer? I’d like to see what his reps were compared to other people his height (excluding linemen who are just massive).
    __________________________

    I’ve been lifting for the better part of 10 years now, and I can definitively say that the longer your arms are, the more difficult it is to bench press.

    I know this is another sport, but if you look at Kevin Durant, he couldn’t bench 185 more than 3x during his pre-draft workouts because of his ridiculous wingspan. Think anyone gives two sh*ts about that now?

  31. garyhd01 says: Feb 24, 2014 1:02 PM

    perhaps the best thing i heard was a quote from a general manager who said i don’t know what scares me most drafting clowney and having him fail or failing to draft him and spending the next 10 years thinking wow i passed on this guy!!

  32. denverbronconj says: Feb 24, 2014 2:49 PM

    Warren Sapp says they don’t put the weight bench on the football field.
    That’s very ignorant for him to say that because why is it that every rookie who makes it to the NFL is told to add more strength and gain weight, etc?
    Its sad that when a LB or DE or DT who’s a tweener and doesn’t lift much weight like….Michael Sam, you criticize him.
    Can’t have it both ways!!!

  33. realfootballfan says: Feb 24, 2014 5:49 PM

    It means absolutely nothing but gives the trolls more talking points. Robert Quinn managed 22 reps. I think he’s pretty good.

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