Jadeveon Clowney has always been No. 1, and that shouldn t change in May at the start of the NFL draft.
Clowney was the No. 1 overall high school recruit the day he committed to South Carolina to play football for head coach Steve Spurrier. He is now the No. 1 overall prospect for the draft.
The Houston Texans will eventually decide whether or not Clowney will become the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
The Texans general manager Rick Smith, head coach Bill O Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel were all on hand Wednesday to study Clowney at South Carolina s pro day. Crennel even put Clowney through his paces when the defensive end was asked to do linebacker drills.
The Texans have a lot of factors to weigh when it comes to how Clowney may or may not fit into their plans moving forward.
First, Clowney may be perceived as the top prospect in the draft class, but the Texans have a desperate need at quarterback.
The team is still doing its due diligence with a month remaining before they re officially on the clock. The Texans will host all three of the top quarterback prospects as well as Clowney for pre-draft visits.
Second, the Texans have to decide if they re comfortable with Clowney s effort on the field and whether there is a legitimate concern regarding his work ethic.
Those concerns stem from a drop in production during his junior campaign and Clowney sitting out a game due to injury. Clowney met with the Texans Tuesday prior to the pro day to discuss these concerns among other things.
We were able to spend some time with him (Tuesday night), O Brien told USA TODAY s Willie T. Smith. He is a good guy. He is a fun guy to talk to. He is a team guy.
During South Carolina s pro day, Clowney s natural athleticism dazzled onlookers. Clowney showed up at the same exact weight he was at the NFL combine. And the defensive end didn t wear down when NFL coaches paced the prospects in drills. Clowney was the last man standing and still working out when the day was over for the rest the Gamecocks draft prospects.
Finally, the Texans would have to determine exactly how Clowney fits into their 3-4 defense.
Clowney was a natural right defensive end in South Carolina s four-man front. He rarely dropped in coverage. Instead, the Gamecocks simply allowed Clowney to pin back his ears and get after the quarterback.
Crennel directed Clowney through the linebacker drills once he got to that segment of the workout. And Clowney looked relatively fluid for a 6-5, 266-pound defensive end.
The ability to see him do those things was very important to the Texans.
Clowney answered every question the Texans had about him over the past two days. As a result, he should be the No. 1 overall pick May 8th, unless the Texans decide a particular quarterback is more important to the franchise.
And if the Texans pass on Clowney, other teams will be eager to acquire the talented pass rusher. The St. Louis Rams and Atlanta Falcons own picks in the Top 6. Both teams will host Clowney on pre-draft visits. Meanwhile, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradly was the only other head coach in attendance at the pro day.
If the Texans were to pass and the Jaguars landed Clowney, he put Houston on notice.