I have to admit that I find it slightly amusing looking at the amount of abject terror I have seen reflected on twitter from Saints fans when they talk about Atlanta getting Jadaveon Clowney. Now I don’t want you guys to get me wrong I think he is an amazing prospect and will most likely be a very good pro. However, lets keep a sense of reality here folks; Clowney might be an athletic freak, but he will be one of many in the league and there are several other pass rushers out there whose singular performance is great but hasn’t changed the team. We know the Falcons gave Matt Rhianna (you get that name when your owner complains about Kenny ‘Chris Brown’ Vaccaro beating you up) a ridiculous contract that will put them in cap hell for a long time, and they don’t have the complementary talent to balance it out unlike the Saints with Drew Brees’s contract. Also Thomas Dimitroff is to Mickey Loomis what Tim Tebow is to Peyton Manning as a GM.
Let me give you guys a few examples of why Clowney doesn’t strike fear into my heart. Two players who have been dominant and game changing pass rushers since 2006 are DaMarcus Ware and Jared Allen, both have averaged double digit sacks and both have led the league as recently as 2011 (Allen had 22). Do you know what else those two players have in common? Neither of them have led their teams to the playoffs or significantly changed the fates of their teams. That is because football is the ultimate team game and the Atlanta team… just doesn’t scare me. They have nothing to be afraid of upfront outside of Clowney (assuming they get him) and their linebackers are also supremely…meh. They do have a pair of young corners who could develop to be pretty good, but with the total lack of anything at the safety position of any worth at all they will still be very easy to exploit.
Still worried? Well then, let’s take an even closer look at their future. Fans love to bring up the success of Julio Jones as a reason to be worried about Clowney…but he is exactly why I am not worried. Lets say they do get Clowney, they are still going to be giving Julio a massive contract in the next season or two which will cripple their cap even further and will give them even less of an ability to field a competent team. The only way they are going to get Clowney is to get into the top two and to do that they will have to leverage a lot of future picks. If they were one or two players away I would be honestly concerned, but as we have seen with players like Ware and Allen (guys who Clowney would love to be as productive as) it is possible to game plan around them and minimize their impact.
With all that said I certainly don’t WANT Clowney anywhere near our division, I would prefer that the Jets get him and to enjoy watching him sack Marcia Brady all day… but that my friends is a dream I will not see realized. I could also stand seeing him go to the Dolphins for the same reason and to also give Ralph Malbrough‘s wife something to cheer for! What I do want fans to realize though is that if Atlanta decides to go full Mike Ditka and trade their future for one guy, they are going to find out that all that makes them is the Saints’ little brother.