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Hoge creates uproar with Clowney-Sam comparison

Hoge Getty Images

Perhaps envious of Ron Jaworski’s ability to manipulate the rundown of every ESPN program for three days or more, colleague Merril Hoge has been firing off some strong opinions this week regarding the incoming crop of rookies.

Two days ago, Hoge predicted that quarterback Johnny Manziel is destined to be a bust.

“He’s clearly not a first rounder, and if somebody does draft him in the first round, their job is gonna be in jeopardy immediately,” Hoge said on SportsCenter.  “Because he will not be able to withstand the expectations that are going to be put on him because his skill set will not handle it.”

Hoge overlooks the one team whose G.M. is also the owner.  If Manziel is on the board at No. 16, it will be very difficult for Jerry Jones to pass, especially as his current franchise quarterback recovers from a second back surgery in less than a year.

On Friday, Hoge aimed even higher.  Appearing on ESPN2′s First Take, Hoge said he’d draft Michael Sam before Jadeveon Clowney.

I’ll be taping the re-air to consider the context and the full quote; Hoge now claims via Twitter that he said he’d take Sam in the fifth or sixth round before Clowney in the first.  If so, that nuance already has been lost on the man who are interpreting Hoge’s remarks as a preference for Sam over Clowney.

It’s understandable for Hoge to have reservations, given the concerns about Clowney’s work ethic.  But Clowney is regarded as one of the best physical specimens to ever enter the draft.  Sam will struggle to find a position in the NFL, too small to be a defensive end and too slow to be a linebacker.

But, hey, the point of the show is to embrace debate.  Maybe next week they’ll take up the question of whether the world is flat.

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76 Responses to “Hoge creates uproar with Clowney-Sam comparison”
  1. ftomasic1961 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:15 PM

    brian bosworth, anyone?

  2. barsfordays says: Mar 21, 2014 1:15 PM

    This guy already said Manziel is gonna be a bust too. Basically, this guy is a dumbass.

  3. lmoneyfresh says: Mar 21, 2014 1:15 PM

    How is there a huge uproar over this? Because he likes one player over another?

  4. joeflaccoallday says: Mar 21, 2014 1:16 PM

    Merrill sounds like a woman’s name.

  5. rr2000k says: Mar 21, 2014 1:16 PM

    Why would anyone take Hoge seriously anyhow?

  6. getyourownname says: Mar 21, 2014 1:17 PM

    Interesting that now he’s being thrown under the bus as just trying to stir the pot, but it was stated earlier on pft that Hoge is a respected analyst.

    In any case, I believe there are fewer readers who agree with the earlier pft statement than you seem to realize.

  7. pftwd3 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:18 PM

    He’s just mad nobody cares about his FACTOR BACKS.

  8. sellout1983 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:18 PM

    These guys are paid to talk. Eventually they all say something stupid.

  9. billyisradical says: Mar 21, 2014 1:19 PM

    Merril Hoge, is a moron. Obviously ESPN doesn’t mind putting idiot former players on TV to share their opinions, but this guy takes the cake. Another thing, what’s the deal with the way he ties his ties?

  10. schmitty2 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:19 PM

    I’d love for Hoge to take handoff with Clowney coming it at him and tells me if he feels the same way afterwards.

  11. janvanflac says: Mar 21, 2014 1:20 PM

    how can you take one player in the 5th “over” another player in the 1st? makes no sense.

  12. jrobitzski says: Mar 21, 2014 1:20 PM

    Hoge-podge

  13. antneejay2 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:22 PM

    Maybe next week they’ll take up the question of whether the world is flat.

    Flat? Like Hoge’s head?

  14. ampats says: Mar 21, 2014 1:22 PM

    Merill Hoge also predicted that the Steelers will meet the Colts in the AFCC the other day.

    Does anyone who doesn’t see yellow and black actually take anything he says seriously? He is clearly the least knowledgeable talking head on ESPN.

  15. blacknole08 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:23 PM

    Hoge-wash. Maybe Sam has a higher grade in terms of character but you would be a FOOL to choose him over Clowney.

  16. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 21, 2014 1:25 PM

    I’ll let this one slide since I know that Hoge only sleeps like 2 hours a day during this time of year.

  17. jsharris54 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:25 PM

    ESPN is all cannon fodder for click baits and sensationalism. 90% of what they do is to get viewers talking and tuning in, and 10% is reporting sports facts.

  18. grndizzle says: Mar 21, 2014 1:26 PM

    How many concussions has Hoge had?

  19. bucrightoff says: Mar 21, 2014 1:27 PM

    Merril pretty clearly has brain damage.

  20. pastabelly says: Mar 21, 2014 1:28 PM

    Hoge is in the “look at me” stage of his broadcasting career. Everyone else has Sam as a middle rounder and Clowney #1, #2 or #3.

  21. jetsfan67 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:31 PM

    Vernon gholston #2

  22. buljos says: Mar 21, 2014 1:33 PM

    I have a feeling this is being taken out of context. I could be wrong… but what was the context of the remark? Was it within the context of who’s the better athlete as is implied herein, with your feedback on their variance in physical attributes? Or was it within the context of a discussion about valuing the intangibles such as drive and determination? I doubt it was the former, as Hodge knows full well that an athletic comparison isn’t supported by the measurables. But if this comment was made within the context of valuing locker room contributions to what makes a teammate a good teammate, then asserting that Sam given his recent notoriety for coming out, is less of a disrupting force to team continuity than a great athlete like Clowney who may not really consider playing football to be all that important to him in the grand scheme of things. Players like Hoge who were not blessed with the incredible talents of a Clowney but instead had to work extremely hard 100% of the time just to be an average NFL player can harbor deep resentments toward players who give a half-assed effort yet rise to be considered as the 1st pick in the draft, and forecasted as a future All Pro and eventual HOFer. If that was the context, then Hoge’s comments are understandable. You can’t divorce statements like this from the context within which they were stated.

  23. andreboy1 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:36 PM

    This is a guy that speaks more highly of Ben Rapelithberger’s character than Tim Tebow’s.

    Hoge’s strange, over-the-top hatred for Tebow’sgame and then eventually calling him out for being a fraud and faker was very strange and telling about who this loser really is.

  24. thepass86 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:39 PM

    I don’t think it is that hard to understand. He just doesn’t believe Clowney is a 1st round talent. He would still take Clowney over Sam, just that Sam is a 5-6th round talent in his eyes and Clowney is not a 1st round talent. I’m inclined to believe that Clowney should be taken in the first 15 picks but I would be a little more hesitant in the top 5.

  25. Smash-Mouth.com says: Mar 21, 2014 1:40 PM

    Love ya Hogey, but this reads like a transparent attention-grab.

  26. nobby821 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:41 PM

    I’d take Helen Keller’s opinion over Hoge’s

  27. southpaw2k says: Mar 21, 2014 1:41 PM

    I agree that the context of his quote needs to be understood before really analyzing what Hoge is saying.

    However, this is yet another example of why I don’t like ESPN. They are more interested in controversial quotes than actual sports reporting. They have become the MTV of the sports world.

  28. brettfavresmidget says: Mar 21, 2014 1:41 PM

    Too many hits to the head…

  29. glenuendo says: Mar 21, 2014 1:41 PM

    Wait, First Take is still on the air? SMH

  30. godofwine330 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:42 PM

    First of all I agree wholeheartedly with Hoge that Manziel is going to be a bust. He is Joey Harrington 2.0 and I hope my Cleveland Browns aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid.

    I don’t know what to take from the Clowney/Sam comments. BSPN, as they have been dubbed in my circle, have gone for shock and awe fake journalism in attempt to bypass normal regular journalism. Right now the network is a step ahead of TMZ and the quality has gone down drastically. Basically E! Sports Edition.

    I cannot say that I agree with Hoge on picking Sam in the later rounds over Clowney in the 1st round. Clowney looks like a beast, and even though last year was a “Let me make it thru the year unscathed” year, I believe in this guy’s talent.

  31. perspective2424 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:42 PM

    I’m a hoge-hater, but if he said that he’d rather take Sam in the 5th round than take clowney in the 1st, then what he said does make sense (I don’t agree with Hoge, but if he thinks Sam will be really good, then it makes sense).

    Think of it this way- right now, if I said Id rather take Ryan tannehill in the 5th round, than take RG3 in the 1st, I’m talking about value. RG3 may be the better player, but the value if getting a starting QB in the 5th is better than the 1st.

    Also, spare me on your personal RG3-tannehill opinions/comparisons. It’s just an analogy.

  32. mauldawg says: Mar 21, 2014 1:44 PM

    Hoge is just stating what he thinks. Is he not allowed to do that. Some people need to get over themselves. How many of have a job with ESPN or any other sports show? I think Manziel will be a bust. I think Clowney will not be a stud. I would not draft either one as a GM. Hoge gets paid to say what he thinks and/or things that will cause us,as fans to respond. He is just doing his job.

  33. aldavis4president says: Mar 21, 2014 1:46 PM

    I don’t see what the big deal is all about. He’s not saying he’d take Sam over clowney he’s saying he’d pass on clowney knowing he could get Sam later in the draft. It’s his opinion love it or hate it. And manziel is going to bust. He’s a 5’8 punk kid who’s going to get killed running the way he does. He’s the next pat white. I’m with hodge also in the fact that running backs are every year underrated due to tv and media like ESPN who know the passing game/qbs/wrs is more exciting, more points, more ratings to watch. Put Adrian Peterson, Jamal Charles,lasean McCoy on with brees Brady Rodgers or manning and that would be impossible. Marshawn played a huge role in Seahawks run. A power run game based team will run all over these new 80% of the time in nickel package teams.

  34. freeperjim says: Mar 21, 2014 1:47 PM

    Hoge has a history of supporting those that choose an “alternative” lifestyle choice and attacking those who reject that lifestyle.

  35. realfootballfan says: Mar 21, 2014 1:47 PM

    Well, he was the guy who said Cutler would be the only QB he’d take in ’06 between him, Leinhart, and Vince Young. Cutler’s the only one still in the league.

  36. colv says: Mar 21, 2014 1:47 PM

    This is nothing new. I’ve been reading about Clowney’s work ethic from multiple NFL supposed experts. If true do you remember this guy?
    If so buyer beware, especially when he becomes a free agent.
    Good player in his year before FA, but in 2009, the Washington Redskins signed him to a seven-year, $100 million deal. “Nothing changed, really, since it was a known fact that Haynesworth is the type of player who shows up the most when he wants to get paid.”

    “The Redskins were just the highest-paying suckers of the offseason. Haynesworth went from a career-high 41 tackles and 8.5 sacks to having trouble getting up after plays, half-’heartedly plodding in pursuit of plays and failing to live up to even a fraction of his monstrous deal.”

    Sounds like Clowney’s work ethic is similar to Albert Haynesworth???

  37. aldavis4president says: Mar 21, 2014 1:48 PM

    Impossible to defend***

  38. deepseabreeze says: Mar 21, 2014 1:49 PM

    Whenever i hear his name, I think of Meryl from Metal Gear Solid.

  39. kylexitron says: Mar 21, 2014 1:49 PM

    as a seahawks fan i remember aaron curry being touted as a can’t miss physical specimine as well

  40. harrisonhits2 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:51 PM

    I wish I had a job that paid me big bucks to pontificate on draft choices. Absolutely none of them ever get more than the first 6-10 picks right. Must be great to be able to be so wrong about virtually everything you report on and still get paid.

  41. thraiderskin says: Mar 21, 2014 1:51 PM

    I’m pretty sure he is saying he would rather use a 5th round pick on Sam than use his first round pick on clowney. If that is the case, all u need to know is he would pass on drafting clowney in the first and wait to use his 5th round pick to take Sam.

  42. dragonfly99 says: Mar 21, 2014 1:52 PM

    Hoge and ESPN are just trying to draw attention and get people to watch their dying programming. ESPN seems to hire analysts based on sensationalism and not on knowledge of the game.

  43. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Mar 21, 2014 1:54 PM

    According to his twitter, he didn’t compare Sam to Clowney at all. He just named some players he would take in each round. He said he preferred Mack to Clowney in the first.

  44. cbosa says: Mar 21, 2014 1:58 PM

    Hodge retired from the NFL because of concussions I think they should check him for CTE all jokes aside because he has been saying some crazy things lately.

  45. tommyribs says: Mar 21, 2014 1:59 PM

    Fact: Merrill Hoge took too many blows to the head.

    React Accordingly.

  46. bigtganks says: Mar 21, 2014 2:01 PM

    Would you take Richard Sherman over Prince Amukumara? What’s so outrageous about this then?

    Doesn’t seem much different than all of you out there taking #13 seeds over a #4 in your tourney picks.

    And I think there are plenty who think Manziel will be a bust, not just Hoge.

    And lastly, everyone just loves to hate and be negative on here. Fact is, ESPN pays Hoge for his opinion because it matters. You don’t get paid for yours because it doesn’t matter.

  47. jaygruntboston says: Mar 21, 2014 2:02 PM

    Clowney has bust written all over him I agree. once he gets millions in guaranteed signing money I don’t see his motor flipping on anymore. slacker, like Haynesworth.

  48. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 21, 2014 2:06 PM

    Keep in mind Hoge still suffers from concussion/brain injury symptoms from his days as a Steeler.

    How can Hoge be so sure that Manziel will indeed be a bust? Sure he could, but so could other QBs in the draft but there are a lot of solid reasons to think he will be successful.

    The comment about taking Sam in the fifth before Clowney in the first doesn’t even make sense. Really can’t even compare them.

  49. surfinbird1 says: Mar 21, 2014 2:16 PM

    Merril has been hangin around all those new little stores in Denver.

  50. yab1sh says: Mar 21, 2014 2:16 PM

    I’m not sure Hoge really believes this. We have to keep in mind that he was on “First Take,” so I really think he was just trying to keep up with Skip Bayless in the “Dumbest Things Said” category.

  51. touchdown12seahawks says: Mar 21, 2014 2:19 PM

    Lest we forget Arron Curry…
    Everyone so high on him, ‘can’t miss’, ‘safest pick’ in the draft.
    How’d that go?

  52. starchybunker says: Mar 21, 2014 2:21 PM

    turns out Hoge was dead-on about Vince Young, so…

  53. cybersqueak says: Mar 21, 2014 2:36 PM

    It shouldn’t surprise anyone an ESPN analyst says something silly. They’re the Fox News of sports reporting.

  54. osiris33 says: Mar 21, 2014 2:38 PM

    What an idiot. Sam is terrible. He’s a 7th round prospect at best, and that’s without all the baggage. Hodge is a clown.

  55. mutantman87 says: Mar 21, 2014 2:39 PM

    4.7 speed is not that bad, just average. Burfict ran a 5.0 and led the Bengals in tackles. I’d spend a mid to late round pick on Michael Sam, because even though he seems positionless, he produced in college, was a team leader, and he resembles Cameron Wake and Elvis Dumervil in terms of size and positional uncertainty. Look how those guys turned out, despite being doubted and lightly regarded early in their careers.

  56. thegreatgabbert says: Mar 21, 2014 2:42 PM

    Hoge, Clowney, and Sam went into a bar together….

  57. Frazier28/7 says: Mar 21, 2014 2:43 PM

    You know what used to be cool about spring? It meant the draft was just around the corner in April, now it means 5 more weeks of listening to these stupid people about prospects until the real draft occurs. Thanks again Goodell

  58. vdogg says: Mar 21, 2014 2:53 PM

    Simply the results of being “concussed” to many times….

  59. awhartstl says: Mar 21, 2014 2:53 PM

    This s the same clown that abandoned any professional integrity he had so that he could clown Tim Tebow at every opportunity. And then when he got made to look like the buffoon he is during that season, he never owned up to it.

  60. rationalfootballfan says: Mar 21, 2014 2:55 PM

    Noooooo Hoge don’t do this. I love you since you were a Steeler but this is just a bad look man. I’m sure Colbert would take Clowney in a millisecond if he was there at 15

  61. fallguy2006 says: Mar 21, 2014 3:00 PM

    Anyone know if Hoge is rockin a rainbow bumper sticker?

  62. southsidetommy says: Mar 21, 2014 3:01 PM

    Hoge is an idiot if he thinks teams should pass on Clowney in the 1st round. Clowney is unlike almost every other potential #1 overall pick in past drafts. He was the consensus #1 player coming out of high school and did not fail to live up to expectations in college (this is EXTREMELY rare). He’s now the consensus #1 player in the draft as far as talent is concerned. No one in this draft has nearly as high a ceiling as Clowney.
    There is no such thing as a “sure thing” when it comes to the draft, so I understand why people question Crowley’s work ethic. But you are a fool if you pass on him based simply on that question. Plenty of guys have had similar question marks coming into the league and they did just fine.

  63. fallguy2006 says: Mar 21, 2014 3:05 PM

    If you are talking about sure things in this years draft , they would have to include Clowney, Robinson, and Watkins . And probably Mack .

  64. doe22us says: Mar 21, 2014 3:39 PM

    buljos says:
    Mar 21, 2014 1:33 PM
    I have a feeling this is being taken out of context. I could be wrong… but what was the context of the remark? Was it within the context of who’s the better athlete as is implied herein, with your feedback on their variance in physical attributes? Or was it within the context of a discussion about valuing the intangibles such as drive

    You are 100% right i watched the segment on ESPN First Take (sigh i know, but i was bored at work) and it was within that context of variables. He basically said he wouldnt draft Clowney but prefers Sam a guy who will give you his all. I personally, dont give two cents what these espn talking heads say, its all drivle and nonsense, but that was indeed how he phrased it.

  65. fdugrad says: Mar 21, 2014 3:50 PM

    I am not certain, however, I THINK Hoge means that Sam is an appropriate pick in the fifth or sixth round, whereas he feels as though Clowney is being rated too highly in the draft, in his opinion. He has expressed his outlook in a clumsy fashion, however I think this is his point. It is certainly a strange thought process regardless of his view.

  66. rajbais says: Mar 21, 2014 3:53 PM

    It is okay if Merrill Hoge doesn’t like Clowney, but he should make comments that should not get himself carried away. He should also assign a round to a player before speaking.

    why are people so obsessed with Clowney?

    If he does not have any past Rush moves now how can you rely on him in year 1?

  67. bobzilla1001 says: Mar 21, 2014 3:57 PM

    The other day on ESPN’s “NFL Insiders,” this question was posed: “Are the Browns a QB away from having a top-10 offense.” Hoge quickly responded by saying only if the QB happens to be a Peyton Manning or a Ben Roethlisberger. I’m still laughing. Roethlisberger has never quarterbacked a top-10 offense. Never.
    Nice try, Merril.
    But goodbye creditability.

  68. iamthorny says: Mar 21, 2014 4:18 PM

    Merrill prefers Sam to Clowney?

    Cue the line from Seinfeld…

  69. minanten says: Mar 21, 2014 5:43 PM

    “Hoge is a respected analyst”? That was a joke, right? Surely no one actually BELIEVES that!

  70. baily67 says: Mar 21, 2014 5:45 PM

    Does anybody seriously listen to these clowns and what they have to say? I know I don’t. they talk to hear themselves talk.

  71. GenXJay says: Mar 21, 2014 6:03 PM

    one is a gay, the other is not. isn’t that the media’s agenda to create chaos with?

  72. IamtheBucsFan says: Mar 21, 2014 6:36 PM

    Manziel = Tebow. Lots of hype, great collage player, a bust. I’m sick of the guy already. Too much press. Everybody will be sick of him after the press wears him out like Tebow. I almost hope I’m wrong.

  73. tomgamboagotjumped says: Mar 21, 2014 8:09 PM

    Merril Hoge is a *ucking moron

    That is all

  74. thebigwhitecat says: Mar 21, 2014 8:44 PM

    ESPN trying to stay relevant.

  75. fearthehoody says: Mar 21, 2014 8:51 PM

    His brain is mush mush

  76. edavidberg says: Mar 21, 2014 9:10 PM

    Not sure why this guys has the credibility to be on tv. Nobody should really care about his opinions on anything.

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