Posted January 14, 2014

Texans owner calls Jadeveon Clowney ‘remarkable,’ asks J.J. Watt for guidance

2014 NFL Draft Primer, NFL Draft, NFL draft 2014
The Texans might be ready to welcome Jadeveon Clowney to Houston, but there seem to be concerns.

The Texans might be ready to welcome Jadeveon Clowney to Houston, but there seem to be concerns. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

With new head coach Bill O’Brien in the fold and the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, the Houston Texans are excited about moving on from a profoundly disappointing 2013 season in which they went 2-14 and lost their last 14 games. The automatic assumption has been that the Texans will take a quarterback with the first overall pick, given Matt Schaub’s pick-six issues and Case Keenum’s possible low upside. Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater is the name most will tie to that pick, and there’s little doubt that Bridgewater has the raw talent and football acumen to live up to that highest pick under the right circumstances.

But when it comes time to finalize their final big board and pull the top name, the Texans will surely consider the ‘Best Player Available’ approach, and that could just as easily lead them to South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Many have questioned Clowney’s effort and productivity after a 2013 season in which his sack total plummeted from 13 to three, and his tackles for loss total dropped from 23.5 to 11.5, but when he’s on, Clowney is still one of college football’s most disruptive forces.

Texans owner Bob McNair said as much in a recent interview with the team’s official website.

“He is a remarkable player. He’s one of these players that’s really a once-in-every-10-years kind of physical specimen that comes along.”

Word is that Romeo Crennel might get the defensive coordinator job that last belonged to Wade Phillips, and Crennel would likely give Clowney a set of hybrid front concepts intriguingly suited to his talent and positional versatility. The question is how much Clowney’s alleged work-ethic issues will come up in pre-draft meetings.

MORE COVERAGE: Hype on Clowney is just beginning | Mock Draft 4.0: Clowney goes No. 2

McNair has been proactive about the matter, and he’s already talked to his best defensive player about what he thinks needs to happen if Clowney comes to Houston.

“He’s not a J.J. Watt,” McNair said. “You know, J.J. didn’t have that natural ability. He worked. He developed his [abilities]. And one of the things I said to J.J., I said, ‘J.J., I don’t know what will happen, but if we get Clowney, we want you to instill in him the same kind of work habits that you have.’ He said, ‘If he’s in the same room with me, then he’ll have them.’”

Not that anyone is questioning Watt’s work habits, but Watt was also a ridiculously productive player at Wisconsin with tremendous natural athletic ability. At the 2011 scouting combine, he ran a 4.81 40-yard dash at 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, which is just as insanely rare as it sounds. Now, he did overcome a two-star ranking as a tight end coming out of high school, and he had to develop into a first-round talent at a new position after one year as a tight end at Central Michigan. That’s to Watt’s credit, and his amazing productivity as an NFL player speaks to the fact that he does play football the right way. But it’s a bit of a stretch to insinuate that Watt was some sort of “Rudy” before he started taking scrappy pills.

Could Watt help Clowney become a better player? There is absolutely no doubt. Should McNair check his statements to make sure they don’t sound so, um, clichéd before he even meets the player he’s talking about? Just as surely. It might be best to keep that kind of concern in-house for now.

36 comments
AllThingsConsidered
AllThingsConsidered

MacNair, no natural abilities for Watts???  Please try to act like you know... As the writer pointed out, JJ Watts had both tremendous natural abilities AND great work ethics. Clowney and Watts could be a truly devastating duo. That said, the Texans really need a QB

tonybot3
tonybot3

Why not? They bombed with Mario Williams. Might as well do it again.

JamesMartin
JamesMartin

Leave it to the Media to insinuate trouble on every word spoken.

bcgambrell
bcgambrell

Raise your hand if you watched every snap of Clowney's career at USC.  (I raise my hand. Anyone else?)  Clowney does not have a worth ethic, attitude, or any other problem.  The drop in numbers from 2012 to 2013 is attributable simply to the loss of Devin Taylor to the NFL (now with the Detroit Lions.)  Clowney was  double-teamed (even tripled teamed) on virtually every snap and every team USC played in 2013 ran away from Clowney. Taylor was the reason teams couldn't double or triple Clowney last year.  This year, there wasn't anyone else of the line that could draw enough attention away from Clowney.  His best statistical day in 2013 was the Tennessee game in which UT tried to solo block him.  They failed miserably and ultimately started double & triple teaming him.

Frankly, Clowney has been considered a circus-freak talent since he was a kid.  I couldn't imagine growing up with such a spotlight.  Heck, his high school games were televised because of him.  The fact that he is pretty level-headed, has stayed out of trouble (no drugs or drinking, no beating up girlfriends, etc.) is frankly remarkable for someone who has been told how special he is by frankly every person he's ever come in contact with. 


If the Texans draft him, he'll be opposite JJ Watt.  He will flourish in the NFL because teams won't be able to focus solely on him. 


To Rajan's point that he's "Haynesworth,"  Haynesworth demonstrated severe attitude issues at every level of play.  Clowney has none of those. 


McNair is a USC alum, and he has drafted a large number of Gamecocks over the years.  He certainly has Spurrier's phone number, and Spurrier has consistently praised Clowney.  Clowney is an absolute circus freak, and he's worthy to be the #1 pick.

RajanPatel
RajanPatel

Haynesworth, Jr.  Red flags, sirens blaring.

sportsGuy12
sportsGuy12

what? O'brien is a QB head coach, they'll pick a QB

Cool
Cool

The Texans are in need of a boost in fan enthusiasm.  How can they get more seats sold, how can they bring excitement back to Houston.  They have a couple choices... Manziel, Clowney, or Bridgewater.  Which one do you think will sell tickets?  It is a business and McNair needs some of that fan support back... I say he goes with Manziel after trading down for another top choice in the first round.

ILoveMyWife
ILoveMyWife

I think everyone knows he is promoting Clowney for purely selfish reasons. (Ie, he would never waste a pick on him but he wants some other desperate slob to trade for the number one pick)

marcusb2323
marcusb2323

Texans should trade the pick for multiple picks.  There aren't any franchise QBs in this draft and CLOWNey is a Clown that doesn't possess the heart needed to excel.  He would get by on raw talent at the beginning, but eventually a Clowney pick will be a bust.

Mike26
Mike26

Since Farrar wrote it it's doubtful to be true.

dirty bird lover
dirty bird lover

It would be interesting to see if the Texans pick Clowney in first and say Taj Boyd in second round to pair up with his former Clemson teammate.

AaronThigpen
AaronThigpen

Oh and I also love the JJ watt not having natural ability. Typical white guy diss, he must just have a high motor. Idiot. 

gyffesme
gyffesme

@tonybot3He wasn't a bomb and he was a better choice than either of the two being weighed as alternatives.

gyffesme
gyffesme

@JamesMartinright, right, 'cause "the Media" is an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-hating entity with but one point of view and one goal: trouble. Loser, go watch FoxNews s'more.

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@bcgambrell   So, the clown couldn't be as disruptive in COLLEGE while being double and tripled teamed huh?


JJ Swatt gets doubled and triple teamed from time to time in the NFL.


Uh, the linemen in the NFL that are doubling and tripling the great pass rushers are, uh BETTER than those that caused his production to dip in college.


If the Clown couldn't handle the linemen in college who were doubling him then what do you think will happen in the NFL?


Yeah, there were good players going against him but a very small portion of linemen he played against in college will be playing on Sunday's.


What if he is NOT playing along side JJ Watt? 

tbost4321
tbost4321

@bcgambrell 

Clowney will have a longer and more accomplished career and will have fewer off-the-field issues than Johnny Football.  

JustinParisi
JustinParisi

@bcgambrellAgreed. Only red flags have been the speeding tickets. But most everyone has either gotten one or deserved one (though not at 30 mph over the limit).

StillAmused
StillAmused

@Cool The Texans have sold out every game in their history. I have confidence that the team will make their decision based on what will help them win, not on what will sell tickets. 

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@ILoveMyWifeGreat job.  You figured out his motive.   Apparently you believe that no other NFL teams have heard of Clowney so they have to be talked into wanting him.

Jesus Hitler
Jesus Hitler

@dirty bird lover Or they could save their second round pick, and call up Charlie Whitehurst or Woody Dantzler, if a rubbish Clemson quarterback is what they'd like.

AlexRoberts
AlexRoberts

@dirty bird lover I hope this is some kind of joke that I'm missing... because South Carolina and Clemson are two different schools. With SC beating Clemson the last five times.  


EasyGoer
EasyGoer

How about the Clowney 'bad work ethic' thing? What do you call that? "We need a hardworking white player like J.J. Watt to instill a good work ethic into this guy." Give me a break.

AnthonyPatterrson
AnthonyPatterrson

@AaronThigpen I guess you missed the part where he says Watt had "tremendous natural ability" but hey, take on the victim mentality if it works for you.

Cool
Cool

@JoeCabot @ILoveMyWife Great job, you have it all figured out too.  Never ever in the history of the draft has the team with the number one draft ever played the field and tried getting a few extra early draft picks. Never ever has anyone hyped up a player they have no intention of drafting.  Yes, once again you are the guru and all knowing expert.  

gyffesme
gyffesme

@AllThingsConsidered@ChrisOliverSome team that has a QB but desperately wants a DE might swap picks (plus a 2nd rounder?), allowing the Texans to still get Teddy B AND have the extra pick(s). Risky (see Cowboys, Dallas), but not uncommon draft-day shenanigans.

nd68
nd68

@AnthonyPatterrson @AaronThigpen And I think you missed the part where two different people were speaking in the paragraph. Writer, not the owner, said Watt had natural ability.


I think that was Aaron's point. 



JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Cool Written like you have had some nervous moments at your fantasy football draft.   Yeah, I get the idea that teams have some decisions to make if looking to trade up, but I somehow can't see them getting too worked up over Bob McNair talking up a player.  Pretty much every team will be attempting this charade in the next few months, and if they all are doing it, is anything really getting accomplished?   See more like another episode of Spy vs Spy to me.

Cool
Cool

@JoeCabot @Cool I agree fully, you aren't a guru and apparently have never heard about what happens behind closed doors.  You have St Louis knowing that every team before them is in need of a good QB, they also know that there are some good QB's on the board, and they are thinking they have a reasonable shot at Clowney .. only to hear the Titans owner throw out the idea that he will take the best player on the board, and that he likes Clowney.  Let me assure you of something.. St Louis is sweating and trying to figure out exactly what they are willing to give up in order to get him.   I know it is hard for you to believe that billion dollar businesses work that way, but it is a reality you need to come to grips with.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Cool Never considered myself a guru or an all knowing expert, but I am flattered that you do.  Thanks.   The NFL is a billion dollar business.   If a team wants to draft a player, for some reason I think that management has made up its mind, or will after meeting with the player and will not be swayed by an owner's dog and pony show.