2014 NFL Draft: Jadeveon Clowney defends stat drop

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Potential top 5 pick defensive end Jadeveon Clowney defends his stat drop from his sophomore to junior season at South Carolina.

The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the No. 3 overall pick and one of the players they will likely be considering at that spot is South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. One of the big criticisms of Clowney heading towards the NFL Draft is the fact that from a stats standpoint, he had a big drop off in production from his sophomore to junior seasons and that he wasn't playing hard every down.

Clowney addressed those criticisms with Yahoo! Sports.

"When I walked into the meeting rooms, all my coaches said, 'You're playing' and 'Keep playing hard,' " Clowney told Anwar Richardson of Yahoo!. "If you watch our tapes, everybody can see I'm playing hard. Guys that don't know anything."

Unfortunately for Clowney, he was paraded as being the No. 1 overall pick had he been allowed to enter the 2012 NFL Draft, so expectations for him going through the 2013 season were never really attainable.

"People expect me to get five sacks, 10 tackles for loss every game, but that wasn't going to happen the way teams were playing me," Clowney said. "I'm taking 80 snaps a game, all our snaps per game, I'm playing them all. Coaches were like, 'Keep playing the way you play. We love the way you play.' "

These are all concerns and questions Clowney will have to address when he meets with the media at the NFL combine and with NFL teams leading up to the draft. Clowney is correct to a degree however, in that if you go back and watch his film you can see he has an effect on the game, even if he's not getting the tackles and sacks.

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