Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 Aug 2013

ESPN: The Race for Jadeveon Clowney

Over at ESPN Insider, I look at which teams are most likely to snag the No. 1 overall pick and a shot at Jadeveon Clowney. Well, we list all our projected last place teams, and of course that includes Atlanta... which finishes 8-8 or better in over half our simulations and isn't going anywhere near the No. 1 overall pick.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 15 Aug 2013

29 comments, Last at 22 Aug 2013, 11:52am by bravehoptoad


by Guido Merkens :: Thu, 08/15/2013 - 4:36pm

I know that the NFL is predictably unpredictable, but I can't recall a single season in which I felt like two teams clearly outclassed the rest of the league in hopelessness like the Raiders and Jaguars this year. Every other team on this list at least has a few elite players or units. The Raiders and Jaguars don't have a single area in which I would consider them even league-average.

by td (not verified) :: Thu, 08/15/2013 - 10:43pm

on paper, the jags should have a strong offensive line, coupled with a near elite running back. too bad this isn't 1975, or they'd be set. the defense is in for a complete rebuild, but that's why they hired bradley

by rageon :: Thu, 08/15/2013 - 4:39pm

"The Race for Jadeveon Clowney" got me thinking about how often the expected #1 pick prior to the college season actually ends up being taken #1. "Suck for Luck" two years ago is an example of when it did, but I do remember old Football Outsider's annuals including odds of teams being bad enough to win the "D'Brickshaw Derby" or the "Dorsey Derby."

by RickD :: Thu, 08/15/2013 - 10:47pm

Reminds me of the SI cover:

6'6" 315 lb Tony Mandarich the Best Offensive Line Prospect Ever

Then there was the Bobby Carpenter cover

He's 17 and hails from Peabody, Mass. NHL Scouts say he's the best US prospect they've seen. Ever.

SI has a strong history of being completely wrong when it comes to identifying 'can't miss' prospects. But they did nail it with LeBron James, FWIW.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 9:58am

On the other hand Luck is who we thought he was.

by Scott Crowder (not verified) :: Sun, 08/18/2013 - 10:31am

Which is to say he's not Russell Wilson.

by LionInAZ :: Mon, 08/19/2013 - 3:38pm

And the 2012 Colts weren't the 2012 Seahawks, either.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 11:13am

Hey, let us not be too unfair in singling out SI. The Packers did select Mandarich number 2 overall.

by Bobman :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 4:48pm

Much to your delight, I am sure. Only a true fan can take great delight in a division rival blowing a high pick. (Sometimes, more than when his own team actually gets one right!)... "The two greatest days in my life were... the birth of my first son and when the Jets picked Jeff Lageman." Okay, that might be pushing it a little.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 11:16am

I really don't want to see Clowney go to the Raiders, but that sentiment is probably unfair to the current bunch cleaning up the debacle of latter stage Al Davis.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 1:46pm

I just don't want to see him go to any team in the NFC, I want my qb to live.

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 08/22/2013 - 11:52am

I particularly don't want to see him go to the 9ers. If that happens, something's gone very very wrong.

by James-London :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 12:34pm

Haven't read the article (or have my copy of the Almamnc handy) and I don't follow college ball , but if the Raiders Jags, finish with the #1 surely they have to take a QB?.

The Browns and Arizona must have to think about it as well, but how do the Jags not take a QB if they get first dibs next year?

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Bobman :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 4:58pm

Might depend on what QBs are on the market--if they can lock up Clowney on a relatively cheap rookie deal, they can spend $7M on a 31 year-old QB who made a couple pro bowls but was never elite. He could give them five good years... or two miserable ones. I agree they NEED QBs, but nothing happens in a vacuum.

But seeing how the once-elite Palmer worked out for the Raiders, maybe they'd avoid that route.

Or maybe they trade the pick to whoever has #8 overall and desperately needs Clowney, so they still get their top-ten QB pick, plus added value?

by Will Allen :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 5:15pm

I'm no college ball expert, but I've heard people I have some respect for say that the gap between Clowney and the best qb prospect is quite large. In Clowney, you may easily be looking at a Bruce Smith, and the best qb prospect may be a Marc Sanchez/Christian Ponder reach.

by Dan :: Sat, 08/17/2013 - 3:10pm

Agreed - it'll probably be a quarterback. I'd give Clowney the edge for the #1 pick if the draft was held today (although I wouldn't be surprised if it was Bridgewater), but for a QB to go #1 a year from now there just needs to be one college QB in the country who gets it together over the next season. In 7 out of the last 10 drafts a QB has gone #1, and that's not because of a lack of talent at the other positions (Joe Thomas, Ndamukong Suh, Von Miller, etc.).

by Jimmy :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 3:16pm

Is Clowney good enough to pull an Elway and simply say to the Raiders / Jags / Browns, "Do what you want with the pick, I am not going to play for you?" He is young enough to sit out a year, bulk up a bit, treat it like a red shirt year and have some control of his early career instead of being forced to play somewhere for up to eight years (under the current CBA). I am almost of the opinion that he would be mad not to.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 4:10pm

Assuming that he has a monster year, I think you are right. The top of the first round money ain't what it used to be anyways, and I could easily see an athletic apparel or sports drink firm building a campaign around The Rebel Who Won't be Told What to Do, assuming the rebel is the obvious number 1 pick, and has an otherwise positive public image. He'd be able to earn significant money despite sitting out, I'd think, which means he'd have plenty of credibility in telling some team he didn't want to play for, "You're never getting my services, so you better trade the right to draft me.".

by BaronFoobarstein :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 4:44pm

Okay, so he's drafted by the Raiders, issues his ultimatum and then refuses to play year one. Now what does he do? He isn't paid because he didn't sign a contract. He doesn't accrue a season because he didn't play. He didn't sign a contract but his rights are exclusively the Raiders'. So he's a year older, didn't get paid, and in exactly the same position he was a year ago. It's nothing more than an iterative game of chicken.

by Dean :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 4:48pm

After a year, he is allowed to re-enter the draft. If he goes undrafted he becomes UFA. Or, if he's drafted a second time and goes a year without signing with that team, he is then a UFA. But now he's lost 2 years of his career, etc.

by Bobman :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 4:54pm

Damn, given his youth and the lower rookie pay scales, this could get interesting. I could see an agent really earning his fee on this one, strong-arming teams to trade the pick with the threat of a holdout year. Clowney wants Team A but Team Z has the #1 pick. His agent sets up a trade (say late round 1, 2, and 3 for #1 overall?). If Team Z refuses, then they get NOTHING this year and who knows for next year?

I'm an old school purist who would rather seem him land on a bottom feeder (not in the Colts division!) and help them turn around, but the MBA in me is intrigued by the wheeling and dealing potential for arbitrage--or maximizing value for both teams AND Clowney (if he produces as advertised).

by Will Allen :: Fri, 08/16/2013 - 5:09pm

I just think it is untenable, from a public relations standpoint, for a habitually bad team, or team seeking a stadium deal, etc., to get nothing for the number 1 draft spot. Also, the teams that could withstand the heat are precisely the teams that wouldn't have the pick anyways. Clowney would be able to earn decent income while he held out. He has real leverage, assuming the next 5 months go well.

by Lance :: Sun, 08/18/2013 - 9:15am

I think Elway had the option of going to play baseball for good money, too. In other words, it was a realistic bluff. Clowney sitting out a year means he makes no money. And I have no idea that would work anyhow-- when do a team's rights to a player expire? Would Clowney be able to be signed as a free agent? Or would he enter the draft the following year? If the former, then sitting out might be a good deal (perhaps living off of a loan and just working out, etc.). But if the latter, you risk getting drafter by another crummy team and facing the same woes as the first time around-- but having lost one of you r most productive (and money-making) years!

by Karl Cuba :: Sun, 08/18/2013 - 11:25am

After a year he has the option to reenter the draft. At which point the Jags select him again.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 08/18/2013 - 8:09pm

The Jags have a hard enough time with the public without going a year without signing their top draft pick, and possibly getting nothing. If he wants to play real hardball, he can play for another team.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 08/18/2013 - 8:14pm

If he's clearly the number 1 pick, after spending another year in the SEC on CBS, he'll easily make a 6 figure income, maybe even 7 figure income, from endorsements as he sits out. The world of John Elway in his early 20s is so far removed from today's commercial environment that it can't be compared.

by STEVE R (not verified) :: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 6:18pm

Saying atl goes 8-8 through simulation just shows your numbers are shit

by Dean :: Wed, 08/21/2013 - 8:25am

You could at least have the courtesy to use the template.

by Jimmy :: Wed, 08/21/2013 - 12:03pm

Is this a new record for FOMBC cursing?