Monday was a good day for Jadeveon Clowney.
A year ago at this time, the outside linebacker was in the midst of what would be a nine-month recovery from microfracture surgery on one of his knees. But at the Houston Methodist Training Center early this afternoon, he was injury-free and a full participant.
"I feel great," Clowney said. "After two seasons I think I just got healthy enough to be where I need to be."
The first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft finished last season with 40 overall tackles and 4.5 sacks in 13 games. His head coach said Clowney blended in with the rest of the squad at the first OTA.
"He's out there today working hard," Bill O'Brien said. "He took a bunch of reps, just like everybody else that was out there today practicing. They all got off to a good start."
Clowney wants to build on 2015, and said he knows what he has to do to make improvements.
"Just come back and work hard, just learn the playbook and keep on going, keep working hard and show the guys I'm ready to go," Clowney said.
Clowney was fourth on the team in sacks last year, as J.J. Watt led the way with 17.5. Outside linebackers Whitney Mercilus and John Simon finished with 12 and five, respectively. If Clowney were to make the improvement for which he's aiming, Mercilus said the future would be bright for the defense.
"It would just mean we're adding more to the arsenal," Mercilus said. "Clowney is a talented player no doubt and we've seen his flashes and everything. He's going to be coming along, and for him to add to the mix, it'd be great and allow us to have a chance to win games."
Clowney, Mercilus and the Texans continue with OTAs on Tuesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
See photos from Monday's Texans OTA workout.