HIGHLIGHTS: Clowney's career
READ: Clowney wants to learn from
READ: Clowney shines at Pro Day
READ: O'Brien impressed with Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney, former South Carolina defensive end, is the newest Houston Texan after being selected with the first-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
“I’d say like three minutes on the clock they called me and said, ‘Hey, welcome to Houston.’ I was like, ‘Man, I’m just happy to be a part of the Houston Texans,’” Clowney said in a conference call Thursday night.
It is just the second time in eight years that a defensive player has been awarded No. 1 status. The last time was in 2006, when the Texans picked Mario Williams. Since 1970, only seven defensive ends have been selected with the top pick. Most have been quarterbacks (20). In fact, many speculated the Texans would add a franchise quarterback, after trading seven-year veteran Matt Schaub in March, or strike a trade with a team wanting to move up.
The trade never materialized because the Texans were "bullish" on what the asking price was, according to general manager and executive president Rick Smith.
In the end, Clowney was too good for the Texans to pass up, a generational talent with freak athleticism.
"I’m obviously very excited with the selection of Jadeveon and what he can add to our organization and our football team, our community and our defense," Rick Smith said in his Thursday press conference. "He’s an impact player. We always talk about impact players and adding those types of athletes to our organization. He certainly fits the bill."
Imagine a possible duo of J.J. Watt and Clowney, primed to give opposing quarterbacks nightmares.
“I’ve been watching him (Watt) a long time," Clowney said in an interview with NFL Network. "I can’t wait to play alongside him.”
Head coach Bill O’Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel both attended Clowney’s April Pro Day. Crennel worked out the top prospect with a variety of linebacker drills at the end of his Pro Day.
"When you talk about a creative mind like Romeo (Crennel) and some of the things he’s done, when you look at his defenses historically and how he utilizes personnel, it really gives us an opportunity to get after the quarterback," Smith said.
As a Texan, Clowney is already familiar with some of his teammates. He will be reunited with former South Carolina teammate
His stock rose after a stunning 2012 season with the Gamecocks where he amassed an impressive 23.5 sacks, 54 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. The following season, Clowney’s performance dropped off and he logged just three sacks. Clowney’s No. 1 potential was questioned with regards to his work ethic and motor.
The 6-5, 266-pound defensive end wowed his critics with his speed and agility at the Combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, topping everyone in his position group. At his Pro Day, he arrived in top shape and did a number of drills for defensive lineman and outside linebacker. Clowney’s ability to fit as a defensive end or an outside linebacker made him a versatile and deadly weapon on defense.
On Wednesday night, Clowney made an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon“ and was asked about being the Texans first-overall pick in the draft.
“I hope so,” Clowney said Wednesday night. “They have the first pick. I hope they pick me.”
When asked what he planned to do with the millions he would earn in the NFL, Clowney said he hoped to buy his mom a house.