Will Dominant Pass Rush Prove Enough to Elevate Texans to Contender Status?

Matt SteinCorrespondent IIMay 8, 2014

Jadeveon Clowney went No. 1 to the Houston Texans, but will he help elevate the Texans to contender status?
Jadeveon Clowney went No. 1 to the Houston Texans, but will he help elevate the Texans to contender status?Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The 2014 NFL draft has begun and the Houston Texans made the pick that everyone knew they were making by selecting Jadeveon Clowney.

While trade talks involving the Texans were popular the past few days, the Texans ultimately decided the South Carolina defensive end was the right choice. Clowney has long been considered an elite prospect thanks to his truly unique blend of athleticism, strength and natural ability.

What's even better for the Texans is that Clowney will now be added to an already potent defensive line. In fact, NFL Network's Albert Breer might have understated just how terrifying this group in Houston can be:

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller also chimed in and warned Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck:

However, the big question in Houston is whether or not a dominant pass rush is enough for them to succeed.

Will getting consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks be enough to elevate the Texans to legitimate contender status?

It doesn't take long when looking over the depth chart for the Texans to see what could ultimately hold this team back: the quarterback position. Just take a look at the group of quarterbacks that Houston currently has on the roster:

Houston Texans Depth Chart
NameCareer Passing YardsCareer TDsCareer INTs
Case Keenum1,76096
Ryan Fitzpatrick16,79010693
T.J. Yates1,10036

We all know that the NFL is a quarterback-driven league and having an elite one is absolutely necessary to be a contender. If you don't believe this to be true, just look at the teams drafting early in this year's draft and the lack of talent at the quarterback position. Or ask the Seattle Seahawks or Denver Broncos how important an elite quarterback is.

And saying that the Texans lack talent at quarterback might be the understatement of the century. No one stated this better than Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated:

That seems like a funny joke, but it might not be far off. That's just how bad the quarterbacks currently are in Houston.

Neither Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick nor T.J. Yates is going to instill fear into a defensive coordinator. What this ultimately will allow opposing defenses to do is load up the box against the run and force Keenum, Fitzpatrick or Yates to beat them with their arms. 

As we've seen in the past with all three of these quarterbacks, they simply aren't capable of doing that.

Now it's certainly possible that the Texans could strike gold in the later rounds in the draft, but that's a huge risk for the franchise. If they miss on a quarterback in Round 2 or Round 3, they might as well consider the 2014 season all but lost.

So, it won't matter whether or not the Texans get 10, or 15, sacks each and every game. It won't matter if the combination of Clowney and J.J. Watt gives Luck nightmares for the next 10 years. 

Clowney may turn into the best defensive player in the league, win Defensive Rookie of the Year and end up in the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Clowney doesn't play quarterback and that's what is ultimately going to elevate the Texans to being a legitimate contender in the NFL.