Living up to his No. 1 overall pick status has been a struggle for Houston Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.
Since being drafted first overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, Clowney’s been a disappointment. Injuries and inconsistent played marred his first two years in the NFL.
In 2016, the pass rusher’s playing like the hyped and heralded player that had NFL scouts drooling when he was the top pro prospect out of South Carolina.
“He’s exactly, I think, what everybody expected him to be (coming out of the draft). He’s tough, hard-nosed. He makes things happen,” Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said, per, Dave Birkett Detroit Free Press. “He’s disruptive. He can close and run and he can rush the passer and he can defend the run. He can set the edge. So he’s a pretty complete player.”
Caldwell’s Lions face Clowney and the Texans on Sunday. Clowney’s steady pass rush has contributed to Houston’s 12th ranked defense. The edge rusher’s compiled 27 tackles and two sacks in seven games.
His disrupted play hasn’t paid dividends in the sack department but coaches around the league have noticed Clowney’s uptick in production, including his own head coach.
“He’s been very disruptive,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said in a conference call with Detroit reporters. “He’s done a really good job of tackles for loss. He’s pressured the quarterback quite a bit, and we’ve moved him around. He’s a very smart player. He’s having a very good year for us.”
Clowney’s emergence comes at a perfect time. The Texans are without three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year in J.J. Watt. The team is in need of another dynamic star on defense. Clowney hasn’t lived up to his hype just yet. However, he moving in the right direction in 2016.