With his rocket blast of a 40-yard dash on a supposedly slow track at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, Jadeveon Clowney confirmed it in yet another context.
He's a beast.
The South Carolina defensive end is 6-5 and 266 pounds yet turned in a 40 time of 4.53 seconds that was faster than the marks posted by a combined 36 wide receivers and running backs at the NFL scouting combine. The big man, even carrying dreadlocks, can motor — like everyone knew. Now it's just etched in his file for the NFL draft process, for anyone needing a paper trail.
This really hit home when, during its wall-to-wall combine coverage, NFL Network superimposed Clowney's 40 with the dashes that fleet-footed quarterbacks Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick ran at the 2011 Underwear Olympics. In the digitally-enhanced race, Clowney won.
That sends a frightening message to any and all quarterbacks: Clowney can catch you.
And when he does, good luck.
Clowney's presence in the draft also inspires an image of a Houston Texans defense that might be made in Mean Joe Greene's dreams. Imagine J.J. Watt, maybe the best defensive end in the game today, on one side, flanked by Clowney, the next big thing, on the other side.
Shoot, they might even have to change another rule or two to better protect quarterbacks.
The prospect of a Watt-Clowney combination has to be tempting for the Texans, currently on the clock with the No.1 pick when the draft begins May 8.
But the Texans should resist that temptation and draft their franchise quarterback.
Maybe it's Johnny Football (Manziel), the people's choice in Houston. Maybe it's Teddy Bridgewater, dubbed the most NFL-ready quarterback in the draft. Or it could be fast-rising Blake Bortles, who looks and throws like a big-time passer.
It's impossible to win consistently in the pass-happy NFL without a franchise quarterback.
Yet for as long as the odds are for securing one, the chances of getting an opportunity to pick one are just as long. Glance around the NFL and just four established quarterbacks came from elsewhere — Peyton Manning and Drew Brees via free agency, Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer via trades.
For the most part, franchise quarterbacks are homegrown. If you're a winning franchise, you won't have many chances to sit at the top of the draft to get one.
Texans general manager Rick Smith and the rest of the team's brain trust know all of this. Team owner Bob McNair remembers when his club picked David Carr with the No.1 pick in 2002 and it turned out as a bust. New coach Bill O'Brien once coached up a quarterback who entered the NFL as a sixth-rounder. That quarterback was Tom Brady.
O'Brien, during a press briefing over the weekend, wouldn't tip his hand regarding which of the top quarterbacks project best for his system.
If the Texans pass on Clowney, they had better get it right. They can't draft a franchise quarterback just for the sake of it. History is littered with examples of humongous mistakes on quarterbacks at the top of the draft. Tim Couch. Ryan Leaf. JaMarcus Russell. Akili Smith.
Sometimes, the franchise QB comes later in the draft, ala Brady, or third-rounders Russell Wilson and the great Joe Montana.
That background adds intrigue to the Texans' quandary. If they don't draft Clowney, is it possible they are passing on the next Deacon Jones?
Former South Carolina Defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney talks the media at the NFL combine.
But Clowney has risk. People keep asking about his work ethic and whether a lack of it factored into his huge decline in sacks — from 13 in 2012 to three in 2013.
Then again, maybe double-team blocking schemes and quick-releasing quarterbacks contributed to the drop-off. And sacks don't always tell the story.
But there's no guarantee Clowney will turn out like Bruce Smith (No.1, 1985), a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Maybe he winds up more like Mario Williams (No.1, 2006), a solid Pro Bowl performer with $50million guaranteed on his six-year, $96million contract.
That's why they call it a crapshoot.
Yet to win in the NFL, the odds are much better when you're led by a franchise quarterback.