With Jadeveon Clowney’s South Carolina Pro Day on deck, the Houston Texans have shown that they have put in work to find out more about the potential top pick. The Texans are sending eight representatives to Columbia, South Carolina that will include Head Coach Bill O’Brien, Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel, General Manager Rick Smith and Team Owner Bob McNair. The decision makers are headed to see Clowney which could be looked at as a big deal when you compare it to other Pro Days the Texans have attended.
O’Brien has been in front and center the past couple weeks with interviews he has had at the NFL Owner’s Meeting and the Town Hall Even the Texans hosted for season ticket holders. O’Brien answered questions regarding Clowney and despite not saying the defensive end will not be the top pick, it is apparent there has been plenty of thought put into the idea of Clowney being taken top overall.
From the NFL Owner’s Meeting
O’Brien was was asked about Clowney’s performance on the bench press at the NFL Combine,
“I wouldn’t say that with a guy like (Jadeveon) Clowney—I don’t think you base a large percentage of your decision on like what he benched. I think a large percentage is based on what type of guy he is. We had him at the combine for 15 minutes and now we’ll go to South Carolina, I think it’s April 2, to his pro day, we’ll go to that and get to know him a little bit better. You base a lot of it on that but also on what you see on tape.”
O’Brien on the questions about Clowney’s work ethic,
“It’s a deal where I’ve studied him pretty closely. One of things and this is not to make and excuse for anyone, in college there’s like 85 to 90 plays per game. He plays all the time. I think if you looked at any player in college, especially at the defensive line spot, playing in a league where most of the teams are shotgun and throwing the ball and rushing the passer, I dare you to find me a guy that plays 90 snaps like his life’s on the line every game. But when the game’s on the line, Jadeveon plays hard. He’s an explosive player, he’s a productive player, he’s an instinctive player. So I think that’s kind of been blown out of proportion but at the same time we’ve got to make sure we get to know him and then keep getting to know him when we get there.”
Town Hall Meeting
O’Brien was asked about if the Texans drafted Clowney what position he would play,
“If we decide to draft this guy, we’re not just going to play him at one position, we may start him off at one position but use him in a lot of different ways. He’s a unique talent but again, that’s if we draft him.”
O’Brien also made it clear that the Texans will be based out of the 3-4 defensive scheme, but will work out of the nickel about 70% of the time. The nickel requires 4 down lineman, which easily fits into what Clowney does best.
Plenty Know Who Clowney Is
The Texans organization is a hotbed for inside information on Clowney and his background. With the Texans being owned by one of the most successful USC alums in Bob McNair, he has plenty of resources at his former school to find out more about Clowney. School personnel and boosters are easily accessible for any of McNair’s questions regarding Clowney.
Also former Gamecocks strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald, who now holds the same position with the Texans, was with Clowney in 2011. According to former Gamecocks teammate D.J. Swearinger, he had to say this about the Fitzgerald and Clowney relationship:
“That’s sort of somebody who kept him straight, I think it would be a huge asset getting Clowney, because Fitzgerald always stayed on Clowney on everything and had him working 100 percent all the time. The work ethic thing, I don’t think will be a problem.”
Which brings us to one of his best friends in safety D.J. Swearinger the Texans second year safety. Swearinger made it known that Rick Smith would be talking to him about Clowney and find out more information and Swearinger made it clear, “I’m going to be 100 percent truthful about it because it’s a big decision.”
South Carolina’s Pro Day will have over 110 credentialed media at the event and will be last of the big four pro days to occur. The lights will be on Clowney to put on a show once again, and prove to Texans he has worked he harder since the NFL Combine ended.
The Texans have had enough internal discussions to know what they want to do with Clowney if the draft him top overall. That is clear with how O’Brien has answered questions when asked directly about Clowney. Plus with some important pieces from Clowney’s South Carolina days in Houston already, there is some vital information at the Texans disposal. The majority of the homework has been done on Clowney and thinking where he will fit in the scheme of the Texans is an important development. The top decision makers are headed to Columbia and that is by no mistake to see the potential top pick in the NFL Draft.