It needs to be noted that the Jadeveon Clowney’s rookie season was cut short by injury. That is, unfortunately, a reality of football and can be the prime factor in weather a player goes "bust" or not. This is not their fault, but failing to live up to their draft position, whether through injury or other is still the determining factor in the "bust" label. In Clowney’s case, he may yet reach his full potential and complement J.J. Watt the way he was meant to...in which case, opposing O-lines had better be ready.
You may remember some controversy regarding Clowney, before the draft last year.
This year’s draft class will be no different. There will be a gem that emerges from the depths of the later rounds and a top prospect that will fail to live up to expectations. To start this series, let’s take a look at a player who is expected to go high in the first round:
Randy Gregory, DE/OLB Nebraska
After an exhaustive scientific study, the results show conclusively that Randy Gregory’s athleticism is everything that NFL teams drool over. He has precisely all the physical traits that teams want in an elite edge-setter. At 6' 5" and 234 lbs, he ran the three cone drill in 6.79 seconds. For the sake of comparison, last years runner-up for defensive rookie of the year award, Oakland’s Khalil Mack, stands 6‘ 3", weighs in at 251 lbs and ran the three-cone in 7.08 seconds.
The tape shows an explosive, disruptive powerhouse
However, some scouts are hesitant on Gregory-
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From an NFC scouting director-
"He's super raw, but those physical tools are through the roof. That's why you pay coaches."
That is, indeed, why you pay coaches, but the larger question has to be- Does Gregory have his head in the game?
Make no mistake, I could give two damns about anyone smoking a joint, but when your school rules/state law prohibit it and a multi-million dollar contract is on the line- why would you do that?
In addition to the more sensational news of the drug test failure, there are number of other concerns. Not the least of which is a short history of injuries, specifically to his knee, ankle and head. No other details are readily available on those, but they kept him out of a large chunk of the 2014 season. Overall, he lacks polish and he should add about 10 lbs to his frame, something he is rumored to be working on before the draft.
There are a lot of reasons why some players just don’t cut it in the NFL. Lack of athleticism is rarely the case. It can sometimes be chalked up to bad coaching or an ill scheme-fit, but the vast majority of the time, it is because the player doesn’t have his head screwed on straight. Hyper inflated egos and immaturity, combined with millions of dollars and all of the associated temptations that come with that are usually to blame, while at some other times, simple laziness is to blame. Players who have dominated, with shear natural talent since their days in Pop-Warner, are not expecting the level of excellence that is the NFL- mentally, they are not ready to be challenged and thus they fail.
Nebraska’s Randy Gregory is an archetype of the boom or bust player- all the physical tools and the college resume to boot, but the questions are still there. A misty fog hanging in the air, clouding everything that is the future and only time will dispel it or perhaps only make it all the murkier.