HoustonTexans.com has released a slew of videos in the wake of Jadeveon Clowney’s pro day on Wednesday, and all of them are well worth a watch.
The Texans were the only team at Clowney’s pro day to run the former Gamecock through any linebacker drills, and to my surprise, he nailed every single one of them. The lack of flexibility and fluidity that showed itself on every single game tape was replaced by a 270 pound man looking damn near graceful in space. While still not as fluid as the smaller, lighter Khalil Mack, Clowney’s dominance in these drills after being run through the defensive line gauntlet shows me that he can be Houston’s Will linebacker of the future. The only question that remains is what happens with Whitney Mercilus.
Former Patriots linebacker Teddy Bruschi, who spent time under Romeo Crennel’s tutelage in New England, thinks that the possibilities for Clowney in his old coordinator’s defense are "endless". As a linebacker or defensive end, Brushi thinks that Clowney is the kind of rare talent that can dominate from any position and allow Crennel to use any front he desires from game to game. That versatile effectiveness, as Bruschi puts it, is well worth the first overall pick.
Texans strong safety D.J. Swearinger has lobbied hard for his former teammate to be the first overall pick throughout this draft process, and after Clowney’s strong pro day performance, he may just get his wish. When asked what Clowney can do in the Texans' defense, Swearinger had two words – "destroy quarterbacks." I like the sound of that.
Clowney addressed the media after his pro day with a big smile. Answering questions ranging from probes about his work ethic (again) to what it would be like to play with J.J. Watt, Clowney showed that being a national phenomenon since high school comes with the distinct perk of being great with the press. When asked about his meeting with Bill O’Brien on Tuesday night, Clowney had this to say:
"He’s a great guy. He wants you to work. He’s all about working and being that guy. He wants you to be a great player coming in and working. Everybody talks about his locker room; they got a great group of guys up there. He said they don’t want [any] bad vibes in the locker room, and I said that I am not that guy. I like to smile and have fun and crack jokes a lot, but when it’s time to play I’m on top of that too."
Texans general manager Rick Smith seemed genuinely impressed with Clowney’s performance on Wednesday and confirmed with Drew Dougherty that the former Gamecock will make a visit to Texans HQ at some point in the next month. Smith also goes on to highlight some other South Carolina stars that had good pro days, including wide receiver Bruce Ellington and quarterback Connor Shaw. Could the sure-handed and explosive Ellington be Bill O’Brien’s slot receiver of the future, which he labeled as a position of need earlier this week? We’ll have to wait until May to find out.
This draft process is likely not the last time that Battle Red Blog will be heavily covering Jadeveon Clowney. In fact, after such a dominating pro day, I would be willing to wager that I’ll get the privilege of writing about him for years to come.