Jadeveon Clowney and Victor Hampton are two of the most controversial prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft, according to Nolan Nawrocki, who would probably like you to think of him as an NFL Draft analyst. Nawrocki compiled a list of ten players who are likely to be 'red-flagged' by front offices because of their behavior on and off the field.
Nawrocki describes Jadeveon Clowney's red flags as such:
Lacks discipline on and off the field and has had to be managed closely since he arrived on campus. Needs to learn what it means to be a pro. Plays in spurts and is too much of a flash player -- does not consistently dominate like he could. Is still immature and finding his way -- too much of a follower.
After removing the portions that aren't unsubstantiated conjecture, it looks like this:
"Needs to learn what it means to be a pro. (Note: This is true of Clowney and every other player in the NFL Draft.) Lacks discipline on the field. Plays in spurts. (Like, once a week - and sometimes not even that much, TBH.) Does not consistently dominate like he could."
Nawrocki was no kinder to former South Carolina cornerback Victor Hampton:
Character will require careful evaluation -- has been troubled by a number of off-field issues dating back to high school, when he attended four different schools. Has had issues with anger management, emotional outbursts and team suspensions. Will be targeted for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties given tendency to talk and taunt. ... Size and physicality will appeal to teams, though character concerns will cloud his draft status and could knock him off some draft boards. Will require close monitoring and has bust potential.
As we did with Clowney, let's remove the conjecture:
Attended four different high schools. Has had issues with team suspensions. Tendency to talk and taunt.
Since we've had to take out so much baseless speculation and Mr. Nawrocki likely has a word count he has to meet, let's do him the kindness of buttressing his pistol hot takes with some objective facts about Victor Hampton and Jadeveon Clowney.
Quick story about S. Carolina CB Victor Hampton, who Nolan Nawrocki lists as a character concern in part because he talks trash and taunts..— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) February 17, 2014
After South Carolina beat Mizzou in double OT on a bad missed FG, South Carolina's players were all celebrating in the end zone..— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) February 17, 2014
Mizzou's players were obviously crushed. Victor Hampton stood by the Mizzou tunnel and shook everyone's hand who would let him.— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) February 17, 2014
Victor Hampton was the only SC player to do that and waited until Mizzou was in the tunnel before continuing to celebrate. Hardly taunting.— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) February 17, 2014
Victor Hampton also spends a portion of his downtime reading to elementary school children.
Both players publicly supported Michael Sam's decision to come out of the closet. In an interview with The State, Hampton said, "I am happy for him. It's probably a load off his shoulders. He can walk around and be proud of himself. I hope everybody accepts him whatever team he goes to."
While it is true that Hampton intermittently ran afoul of team rules at South Carolina and was suspended as a result, those infractions trailed off significantly by the end of his career, by which point he had become a vocal leader on the Gamecock defense. Clowney was suspended for a grand total of one quarter -- during the 2011 Clemson game.
Just for fun, let's take a look at what Nawrocki wrote about noted nightmare of a human being Richie Incognito.
Is overaggressive — has a tendency to lunge, overextend and leave his feet and, in turn, spends more time on the ground than he should. Shows too many mental lapses letting defenders run free and can do a better job of recognizing and adjusting to the blitz. Does not consistently roll his hips and finish like he is capable of on the second level and too often gets caught in traffic pulling. Has not been able to control his temper in the past, draws flagrant foul penalties and requires a patient positional coach to keep him in line.
Pretty tame by comparison, IMVHO.