A Voice For Clowney Falling To BucsFebruary 14th, 2014
One draft guru Joe respects is Russ Lande. The former NFL Scout who now works as a college scouting director in the CFL offers researched takes, and he doesn’t throw crap against the wall. Lande has written books on the NFL Draft, and you’ve probably heard him on radio or TV, or seen his work for NationalFootballPost.com or Sporting News.
His new mock draft is intriguing.
Lande has the Texans taking QB Blake Bortles No. 1 overall, followed by the Rams locking up OT Jake Matthews, something Joe, like Lande, thinks is likely given the blown knee of OT Jake Long against the Bucs in December. Then Lande has a QB parade going Nos. 3 to 5: Teddy Bridgewater (Jaguars), Derek Carr (Cleveland) and Johnny Football (Oakland).
That’s where it gets interesting. He claims the Falcons at No. 6 will go with a character/talent pick to bolster their defense leaving defensive end Jadaveon Clowney on the board.
|No. 6 Anthony Barr
|Atlanta desperately needs to upgrade its pass rush and likely will have to make a decision between Jadeveon Clowney and Barr. However, considering the Falcons took linebacker Brandon Spikes and tight end Aaron Hernandez off their draft board due to character questions, I think they will lean toward Barr with too high a pick to risk. Barr has rare explosive quickness and speed to threaten the corner. That, combined with his outstanding character, work ethic and desire to improve, makes me believe he has what it takes to improve and become a top pass rusher.|
And then the Bucs take Clowney.
|No. 7 Jadeveon Clowney
South Carolina DE
|When Lovie Smith was the head coach in Chicago, the Bears signed unrestricted free-agent Julius Peppers to a huge contract; Clowney reminds me a ton of Peppers. He has the length, thick build, excellent strength and uncommon athleticism for a big man. If he can be motivated to play hard and be aggressive on every snap, he has the talent to be a Hall of Fame defender. Current defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers have been disappointments, and the Buccaneers need to upgrade their pass rush.|
If there’s a head coach who can get the most out of Clowney, it very well could be Lovie Smith. Clowney, who turned 21 today, surely has the requisite talent to be drafted that high. Joe also suspects Bucs fans would be out of their minds with ecstasy at the thought of an explosive edge rusher alongside Gerald McCoy.
Lande lays out a plausible scenario — for mid-February. But there’s a long, long way to go. Joe still thinks Lovie won’t sit on his hands when it comes to signing a pass rusher in March. It’s just that important.