The Houston Texans are on the clock for May’s NFL Draft, and their University of South Carolina-educated owner Bob McNair is already talking Jadeveon Clowney.
“He is a remarkable player,” McNair told the team’s website (houstontexans.com) this week. “He’s one of these players that is really a once-in-10-years physical specimen who comes along.”
Clowney, who was named a first-team All-American defensive end in two of his three seasons in Columbia, compares favorably to defensive end Mario Williams, who the Texans drafted No. 1 overall in 2006, McNair said.
“I think that Clowney is actually a better athlete than Mario. That tells you what kind of player he can be,” McNair said.
Houston again will pick No. 1 overall this season after finishing the season 2-14. While they appear to be in the market for a quarterback with that selection, the Gamecock connection between the player and owner will be a big talking point between now and the first round of the draft on May 8 in Radio City Music Hall in New York.
“Like many of these fellas that have these great physical attributes, they didn’t have to work as hard in junior high school and high school and college to be a superlative athlete because they had this natural ability,” McNair said of the Clowney.
However, McNair already has spoken to J.J. Watt, his Pro Bowl defensive lineman, about working with Clowney if the Texans draft the Rock Hill, S.C., native. McNair and Watt both attended the Capital One Bowl earlier this month in which Clowney and the Gamecocks beat Watt’s alma mater, Wisconsin, 34-24.
Clowney “is not a J.J. Watt. J.J. didn’t have that natural ability. He worked. He developed his,” McNair said. “I said, ‘J.J., I don’t know what will happen, but if we get Clowney, we want you to instill in him the same kind of work habits that you have.’ He said, ‘Well if he’s in the same room with me, he’ll have them.’ ”
Clowney had 24 sacks in three seasons at South Carolina.