The hottest debate surrounding the NFL Draft is who the Houston Texans should take with the No. 1 overall pick: Jadeveon Clowney or a quarterback like Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater. As attractive as both those quarterbacks are, Houston would best serve itself by selecting Clowney with its first pick and allowing him to play opposite of J.J. Watt, who would help develop a large talent with a “questionable” work ethic.
Clowney took shot after shot from the media and fans of college football for his apparent unwillingness to really put himself out there in his final season at South Carolina and risk a serious injury that would set him back in the NFL, which was always the obvious goal for this kid. That led to what many considered to be a subpar work ethic with the Gamecocks, which his former coach Steve Spurrier noted as being just “okay.”
When you have the largest media markets in the world telling a kid he could be making millions of dollars playing professional football, it’s almost illogical to expect him to keep that hunger alive and continue to thrive the same way he had in the past. It doesn’t mean the passion is gone or lacking; it means he’s playing for the future, not the now. Is that such a crime?
When you consider the fact that opponents were doing everything possible to contain this defensive star, a lapse in work ethic is understandable. He’s going to be docked for that in the coming weeks leading up to the draft. But bottom line: Houston has a wonderful opportunity to snag the best NCAA defensive lineman since Ndamukong Suh at Nebraska.
The great advantage Houston has with Watt is how he is constantly pushing himself and expecting personal perfection. He is striving to be the best possible football player he can be, and that’s exactly what a guy like Clowney needs to be witnessing in his early NFL days. Watt would be an ideal mentor, especially when it comes to someone who would also be playing down on the defensive line.
Houston does not need to quit on quarterback Matt Schaub right now. The Texans need a guy like Clowney who can step in immediately and learn from one of the most passionate and spirited guys in the game in Watt. All questions of motivation and work ethic would then be erased, and we could finally get back to enjoying the pure dominance that is Jadeveon Clowney.