We’re bound to see a lot of surprises tonight, but the first overall pick was fairly straight forward. The Texans have selected South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney to kick off the 2014 NFL Draft. Of course, a trade is still possible, but based on what we’ve heard about Houston’s asking price, it seems likely he’ll be staying in red and blue.
Coming out of high school, Clowney was the number one recruit in his senior class, and three years later, he’s still widely regarded as the best amongst his peers. To say Clowney was dominant during his sophomore season would be an understatement. Teams tried everything to neutralize the defensive end but he managed to find his way into the backfield time and time again. Clowney’s junior campaign didn’t go as smoothly as he missed two games due to injury and some observers questioned his work ethic, but his talent still buoyed him to the No. 1 overall pick. As a sophomore, Clowney helped lead South Carolina to a 11–2 record, setting the school record for sacks (13.0) and tackles for loss (23.5) while also registering 54 tackles and three forced fumbles. In 2013, Clowney finished his junior season with 35 tackles, 10.5 for a loss of yardage, and three sacks.
Clowney stomped out a lot of the criticism directed his way at the combine in Indianapolis earlier this offseason. He measured in at a large 6’6″, and weighed in a lean 266 pounds with 34.5 inch arms and ten inch hands. Then he took that giant frame for a run, posting a blazing 4.53 40-yard dash, with extremely impressive numbers across the board in the other drills as well.
Tonight, Clowney became the first defensive lineman taken with the first overall pick since the Texans tapped Mario Williams in 2006. Williams had his ups and downs in Houston is now plying his craft with the Bills. With Clowney, the Texans are hoping for a better outcome and a stabilizing force for their D-Line for years to come.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) reported the pick just prior to Commissioner Roger Goodell taking the podium.