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Monday, February 24, 2014
Raiders Clownin' for Clowney at combine?

By Paul Gutierrez

The more macabre faction of Raider Nation tried to get a campaign going for the Oakland Raiders last year as the season began to unravel. Clownin’ for Clowney would have had the Raiders tank, thus giving them the top pick in the NFL draft and the chance to select South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

But by finishing 4-12 and getting the No. 5 overall selection, the Raiders likely will search elsewhere, as Clowney’s freakish athletic skills probably have him going in the top four especially after his blazing 40-yard dash Monday morning at the combine.

Clowney’s unofficial time of 4.47 seconds was faster than every quarterback to have run at the combine since 2006 save for Robert Griffin III. The fact that Clowney’s time was later elevated to an official 4.53 may have taken some shine off, but it is still impressive for a 6-foot-5, 266-pounder whose job in the NFL will be to chase down slower and smaller quarterbacks.

“It means he’s 266 pounds and he runs like a wide receiver,” ESPN draft specialist Todd McShay said. “The average for wide receivers over the last five years (is) a 4.54, and he’s 64 pounds bigger than the average wide receiver. It’s a remarkable time.”

Still, Clowney disappointed by withdrawing from the rest of the day’s events, reportedly citing a tight hip flexor a day after getting “only” 21 reps in the 225-pound bench press.

Clowney, who followed up his 13-sack, 23-tackles-for-loss 2012 season with three sacks and 11 tackles for a loss in 2013, will have his pro day April 2 at South Carolina.