Jadeveon Clowney takes far fewer plays off than you think

Streeter Lecka

The defensive end plays a comparable amount of snaps to some NFL stars at the same position.

The controversy around Jadeveon Clowney's playing time continues to rage, thanks in part to comments by head coach Steve Spurrier. For the second time this season, Spurrier made public comments that seemed to suggest he doubted Clowney's claim that he was injured, and for the second time this season Spurrier then retracted his comments by claiming there was "miscommunication."

Clowney has been accused of taking plays off and having poor stamina, but Rotoworld found that Clowney's playing time is actually quite similar to NFL players at the same position.

In the games he has suited up for, Clowney has played in 213 of South Carolina's 272 defensive snaps this season (thanks to John Pollard from STATS Inc. for that number). Roughly 78.3 percent. Compare that to 4-3 defensive ends (what Clowney is currently playing and his easiest projection) in the NFL this season: Jason Pierre-Paul (76.3), Demarcus Ware (72.3), and Julius Peppers (78.2). Are these players "loafing" if seen on the sideline by camera crews? That seemed to be the instant conclusion during the first game of the season against North Carolina, suggesting Clowney's impact on a game instantly dropped after spending a few snaps on the sideline.

Those numbers do not include South Carolina's win over Kentucky, which Clowney missed with an injury.

Clowney's slow start to the season was actually not all that slow, as he has continually proven to be a problem for opposing offenses.

Questions have been raised as to whether Clowney's perceived unwillingness to play (or, perhaps, the willingness of the general public and the media to perceive it as so) will have an effect on his NFL draft stock, with some NFL executives saying they'd be "scared" to take him in the top 10. Other executives have said they don't care, and it seems unlikely Clowney will fall far in next year's draft.

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