Clowney has room to improve

Highlights aside, metrics don't yet support star DE as being truly dominant

Updated: August 7, 2013, 1:06 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

Jadeveon ClowneyJoe Robbins/Getty ImagesSouth Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney still has room to grow heading into his junior season.

A player in the SEC, despite already being labeled the No. 1 NFL draft pick for 2014, is on the verge of a season that could propel his draft stock into the stratosphere and cement his place among the legends of college football. 

South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney came into college football as the No. 1-rated high school recruit. He now has a résumé that includes a place on the 2011 Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America team, a 2012 first-team All-SEC honor and the 2012 Hendricks Award as the best defensive end in college football.

All of that sounds as though Clowney has already fulfilled his potential, yet a closer look at his career offers strong evidence that he has ample room to improve. It also indicates that the bar for his 2013 season performance needs to be set a lot higher than it was last year.

Let's begin by noting how high the bar should be set for an elite, game-changing defensive player.