The Houston Texans signed No. 1 pick and former South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney signed a $22.272 million, fully guaranteed contract Friday, according to the Houston Chronicle. His four-year contract includes a fifth-year option and a signing bonus of $14.518 million.
Clowney’s agent Bus Cook negotiated the deal with Houston general manager Rick Smith and vice president of football administration Chris Olsen.
Clowney, the 18th first-round pick to sign this year, played defensive end for the Gamecocks and was the highest-rated prospect in the draft. During practices with the Texans, he has been working with linebackers coach Mike Vrabel to make the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker – the same move Vrabel made when he left Ohio State for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 scheme, Clowney lines up on the weak side in the base defense. In most situations, he’ll be playing the run or rushing the quarterback and not dropping into coverage.
Clowney had 130 tackles, including 47 for loss and 24 sacks, in three seasons at South Carolina. He also set a school record by forcing nine fumbles in his career.
The Texans hope the 6-foot-5, 266-pound Clowney will pair with 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt to create one of the top pass rushes in the NFL.
He’s the third top overall pick in team history. Houston selected quarterback David Carr in 2002 and defensive end Mario Williams in 2006.