When it comes to the 2014 NFL Draft we have reached the silly season when hyperbole, rumors and wild speculation rule the day. Nothing is sillier than the nonsense from Pete Prisco of CBS Sports already comparing South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to legendary New York Giants' linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
"This kid has a chance to be as good as any pass rusher we've seen in this league since Lawrence Taylor, and to me Lawrence Taylor is the best defensive player I've ever seen with my own two eyes," Prisco said in a CBS Sports video.
Prisco also wrote that Clowney "can be the best ever" and also that "we might actually have the next LT coming into this league."
That's disrespectful to Taylor, undoubtedly the greatest defensive player I have ever watched and a player who changed both defensive and offensive football. In fact, it's disrespectful to a lot of great players. It's also not fair to Clowney, a player who isn't even in the league yet.
Former Giants' linebacker Carl Banks on Thursday said the comparison was "ridiculous."
"No. 1, you're stepping over a lot of great defensive ends," said Banks, now a Giants broadcaster. "They should hope he's as good as a Richard Dent, Neil Smith, Bruce Smith or Charles Haley. If he can get to that level, he's a dominant player. But you want to jump over those players and say he's the next Lawrence Taylor? It's ridiculous. I just gave you four of the greatest defensive ends, and you don't want to put him in that category because he's already better than them?"
Banks played alongside Taylor for nearly a decade and is, of course, correct. Let's see ...
- Lawrence Taylor -- Pro Football Hall of Famer, 10-time Pro Bowler, 8-time All-Pro, 132.5 career sacks.
- Jadeveon Clowney -- Not in the league yet.
Prisco isn't the only one going way overboard with the Clowney stuff. ESPN's Mel Kiper said recently that Clowney will have only himself to blame if he does not end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It is certainly fine to opine that Clowney is the best player in the 2014 NFL Draft class and that he should be the No. 1 pick. It is certainly fine to say that Clowney has the physical tools to be a great player. It is not fine, however, to put him in LT's category when he has yet to step on an NFL field.
If you want to call Clowney one of the best to ever play check back with me in 2025. If, at that point, Clowney has been a game-changing defensive end for a decade or so we'll talk.
No matter what his physical gifts, that is a big if. So, let's pump the brakes just a little.