Jadeveon Clowney Makes Perfect Sense for Houston Texans at No. 1 Overall

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2014

Sep 7, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) rushes the passer against the Georgia Bulldogs during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated South Carolina 41-30. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Jadeveon Clowney didn't run the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds like he had hoped at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this February, but nonetheless, his freakish blend of size and athleticism appears to have won over the Houston Texans, who will pick first in May 2014's NFL draft.

According to Bleacher Report NFL columnist Mike Freeman, several NFL team sources say Houston is leaning toward selecting the South Carolina superstar with the No. 1 overall pick on May 8.

However, the rumors should be taken with a grain of salt, per Freeman:

This information comes with a caveat—at this time of the year everyone lies about everything. It's always difficult to decipher what is true and what's a smokescreen around draft time.

Despite the fact the draft is still months away, it's hard to argue that selecting the most gifted specimen No. 1 overall would be a bad move. Instead, Clowney-to-Houston makes perfect sense for the Texans.

In Indy, Clowney wasn't shy about his desire to hear his name called first, per ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold"That's one of my goals here, to go No. 1. I came out of high school as the No. 1 player, so I want to come out of here as the No. 1 guy."

Sure, the Texans need a quarterback to help kick off the Bill O'Brien era. But there aren't any can't-miss quarterback prospects coming out in 2014. There are no Andrew Luck-type signal-callers or Robert Griffin III-like superstars.

Florida State's Jameis Winston may have qualified, but he's ineligible.

Therefore, the Texans are better off taking the best talent available and going after a quarterback later in the draft. Remember, Houston will be the first team on the clock to start the second round. 

On top of that, Clowney could team with star defensive tackle J.J. Watt to create one of the league's most fearsome defensive fronts in 2014 and beyond. And as the Seattle Seahawks proved en route to capturing the title in 2013, you can never have enough elite pass-rushers. 

In today's game, it's critical to possess a dynamic pass rush in order to win consistently and to have any hope of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. And even if Clowney doesn't record double-digit sacks in his rookie year, odds are his presence will open the door for others to get after the quarterback.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 24: Former South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney takes part in the broad jump during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 24, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

While there are still plenty of questions swirling when it comes to Clowney's motor, he obviously answered most of them behind closed doors at the combine if the Texans are considering drafting him with the top pick. Not to mention the tape and Clowney's overwhelming physical prowess trump many of those concerns. 

Despite an up-and-down junior season in 2013, Clowney cemented himself as a defensive game-changer during his sophomore year in 2012, recording 23.5 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks and three forced fumbles in college football's best conference.

That said, there's no denying that Clowney has what it takes to not only succeed, but dominate at the next level. At 6'5", 266 pounds, the 21-year-old has the frame, speed, strength and durability to turn in a Hall of Fame career. The only question is whether he'll stay committed enough to maximize on his physical gifts. 

It's a big if, but one the Texans should be willing to gamble on this spring.


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