- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith was careful not to single out any one draft prospect as his team prepares to break down players at the NFL combine.
Smith did, however, speak in general terms about the guy touted as the most physically gifted specimen in this year’s class: South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
"Well, he’s got the measurables that you’re looking for," Smith said of the 6-foot-6-inch, 274-pound Clowney. "Obviously, we’re all anxious to see him perform here at the combine to validate those measurables. He’s been a dominating player at the University of South Carolina in arguably the best conference in college football."
Clowney said he wants to be the No. 1 overall pick, but the Houston Texans, who own the selection, could target a quarterback. The Falcons currently have the sixth-overall pick.
Smith compared the buzz around Clowney to what happened in 2006 when another imposing defensive end.
"Well, I think that he has similar measurables to Mario Williams," Smith said of Clowney. "Mario Williams is, when you talk about the defensive end, he fits the criteria that you’re looking for. And, of course, Mario went on to be the first pick in the draft."
Clowney gets a chance to back up the hype when the defensive linemen go through workouts on Monday.