Since 1970, only seven defensive ends have been selected with the top pick. Most have been quarterbacks (20).
In fact, many speculated the Texans would add a franchise quarterback, after trading seven-year veteran Matt Schaub in March, or strike a trade with a team wanting to move up.
In the end, Clowney was too good to pass up, a generational talent with freak athleticism. Imagine a possible duo of J.J. Watt and Clowney, primed to give opposing quarterbacks nightmares.
“I’ve been watching him (Watt) a long time,” Clowney said in an interview with NFL Network. “I can’t wait to play alongside him.”
Head coach Bill O’Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel both attended Clowney’s April Pro Day. Clowney also made a visit to Houston. General manager and executive vice president Rick Smith has been in contact with Clowney.
As a Texan, Clowney is already familiar with some of his teammates. He will be reunited with former South Carolina teammate D.J. Swearinger, last year’s second-round pick, on defense. He also is close friends with Johnathan Joseph, who grew up in the same town of Rock Hill, South Carolina.
His stock rose after a stunning 2012 season with the Gamecocks where he amassed an impressive 23.5 sacks, 54 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.
The following season, Clowney’s performance dropped off and he logged just three sacks. Clowney’s No. 1 potential was questioned with regards to his work ethic and motor.
The 6-5, 266-pound defensive end wowed his critics with his speed and agility at the Combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, topping everyone in his position group.
At his Pro Day, he arrived in top shape and did a number of drills for defensive lineman and outside linebacker. Clowney’s ability to fit as a defensive end or an outside linebacker made him a versatile and deadly weapon on defense.
Courtesy Deepi Sidhu, Houston Texans Writer/Columnist, HoustonTexans.com