At least two general managers told ESPN.com they would've liked to have seen Clowney do the drills, and expected him to, but were not surprised he didn't given there are questions about his change-of-direction skills. The GMs said that Clowney and his representatives simply chose to play to his strengths Monday. Clowney will have plenty of time to work before his April 2 pro day at South Carolina.
But for a player who has carried questions about his work ethic in tow since the start of the 2013 season, it was another example, some scouts told ESPN.com, of Clowney passing on an opportunity to go full-tilt in a competitive situation and simply show what he can do. He benched 225 pounds just 21 times Sunday -- a total that some other successful pass-rushers have posted in previous combines but lower than some expected for the high-profile defensive end.
Clowney said this past weekend that he hopes to be selected by the Houston Texans with the top pick in May's draft.
"That's one of my goals here, to go No. 1," he said. "I came out of high school as the No. 1 player, so I want to come out of here as the No. 1 guy."
With his array of physical gifts, including the speed he showed Monday, many talent evaluators are still trying to understand how Clowney finished this past season with just three sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss.
"Going into last season, I had a lot of high expectations of myself, and things don't always happen like you plan on," Clowney said this past weekend. "I was really trying to break the [career] sack record for us for the next guys coming in. There were a lot of ups and downs, but we won 11 games, were 11-2, won our bowl game, finished No. 4 in the country for the first time in South Carolina history. So I was pretty excited about the season.
"I wasn't worried about my stats really. A lot of game-changing went on when we played teams. ... I wasn't really worried about my stats, I just wanted to win."
Clowney has said that bone spurs in his right foot -- he's said he's dealt with them since high school -- did not affect his play in 2013 and said shortly after the season he would let the team that drafts him decide whether he needs surgery.