There are plenty of people who believe that defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is the most talented player in the 2014 draft and some of his biggest admirers have opined that Clowney has the potential to have the same kind of impact on defense that Lawrence Taylor had during his Hall of Fame career.
Carl Banks, one of L.T.’s teammates with the Giants, scoffed at the comparison last month by saying there were a lot of levels that Clowney needed to reach before anyone could mention him alongside Taylor. It’s hard to argue with that view when discussing a player who has yet to take an NFL snap or even find out what team he’ll be playing for, but the expectations are going to be high for Clowney. On Wednesday, Clowney embraced those expectations by saying he thinks he can do the same kinds of things in today’s NFL that Taylor did back in the day.
“I think I can do what he did –- run around a lot of guys, make a lot of plays, even though you can’t hit like they were hitting back then,” Clowney said, via NJ.com. “I watched him do some hits and he was trying to kill people, take their heads off. You can’t hit like that no more, so you have to do it the right way.”
Comparing Clowney to perhaps the best defensive player of the modern era seems like a pretty good setup for disappointment unless you also recall that there have been plenty of great defensive players who never quite reached Taylor’s heights. Should Clowney fall into that group, whoever picks him will likely wind up feeling quite good about their decision.