Jadeveon Clowney ran a 4.53-second, 40-yard dash Monday morning at the NFL Combine.
That's fast. Enough speed to forget about Clowney's less-than-impressive 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press Sunday. The former South Carolina defensive end burned more speed than two-thirds the running backs at the NFL Combine. His time was easily the best among this year's defensive linemen; according to ESPN Stats and Information, Robert Griffin III is the only quarterback to run faster than 4.53 at the Combine since 2006.
NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp, a Hall of Fame defensive tackle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, couldn't believe Clowney's raw athleticism.
"It's frightening to see a man that big, that fast, coming up and down this football field. He is a freak," Sapp said on NFL Network immediately after Clowney ran his second of two 40-yard dashes. "I don't care what he runs either. The thing that I want to do is see him put his feet in the ground and come with a hunger and love for this game. Because that's the one thing, when you turn his tape on, you don't see that love for the game. That love of the hunt that you want to see from a defensive lineman, but the kid is a freak. And, oh, is he athletic."
Sapp didn't only have glowing things to say about Clowney. The former Gamecocks All-American wasn't the only thing Sapp couldn't believe.
Sapp raised the same red flag that has followed Clowney through most of last season, hammering him on his work ethic and desire to play the game. He also criticized Clowney's technique.
Naturally, the always-affable Sapp didn't mince words.
"On film, it's a shame," Sapp said. "I'm ashamed to look at it. I have to push pause, get up and walk around the room and calm myself down, because I'm like, 'Are you kidding me?' There's no way this kid is allowing this tape to be sent around the country. What's going on?
"He's stepping on the railroad track. That means one foot in front of the other. There's no aggressiveness, no hunt. You questioned whether he wanted to play the game. There's only one way to play this game, and that's like your hair on fire."
In other Combine timing and measurement drills, Clowney's 37.5-inch vertical leap and 124-inch broad jump each rated second among defensive linemen. He completed a 3-cone drill in a pedestrian 7.27 seconds.
Clowney's Gamecocks teammate, defensive lineman Kelcy Quarles, recorded a 23.5-inch vertical leap and 102-inch broad jump, among the worst jumps at the position. His 40 time was 5.03 seconds, and on Saturday he benched 27 reps, both middle-of-the-pack figures.
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