Houston Texans Positional Breakdown: Outside Linebacker

3 of 6

Nov 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (90) in action against the Cincinnati Bengals at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jadeveon Clowney, 6’5″ 266 Pounds, 22 Years Old

The top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft out of South Carolina, Jadeveon Clowney was supposed to pair with J.J. Watt and form the most fearsome pass rushing duo in the league. Instead, injuries limited him to seven tackles in four games, with only two starts on the year.

Some Background Info;

Clowney blew up his sophomore year, taking down opposing quarterbacks 13.5 times and getting a total of 23.5 tackles for a loss. And who could ever forget this massive hit during the Outback Bowl against Michigan.

After becoming the most talked about player in all the collegiate world, there was talk about Clowney taking 2013 off, to protect himself from injury. Concern arose after watching teammate running back Marcus Lattimore suffer what proved to be a career ending knee injury.

Instead, Clowney suited up for 2013, but never really seemed like he wanted to be there. He was accused of taking plays off and being more concerned with just getting through the year healthy, rather than giving full effort.

He finished the year with 40 tackles and three sacks, both totals giving credence to the naysayers that felt he shouldn’t be the top pick. But still, draft experts raved about his skill and athleticism.

"“He’s 6-foot-5, 266 pounds. He’s got 34-inch arms. He ran a ridiculous 4.53 (40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine) at 266. He’s explosive. He flashes in every game. When he woke up this morning, he was the most talented (defensive) lineman on the planet. The knock on him is that he’s not always consistent. The criticism is that he flashes explosion, but he doesn’t do it enough. The talent demands that he becomes the best defensive player in the league.” — Mike Mayock"

Sadly, the Texans will have to wait longer to see if Jadeveon can ever meet his lofty potential. After having microfracture surgery there are serious questions about his knee and his potential going forward.

What To Expect This Year;

Don’t be shocked if Clowney is not ready to go right away even though reports are indicating an earlier return than expected. Knee injuries are tough to predict and hard to recover from.

The biggest worry is that Clowney will not have the same burst and explosion he once had, and for at least a year, I expect that to be the case. I believe as we get towards the final stretch of the year he will look like himself again and start to regain form.

If Houston is able to find a way into the playoffs, I expect him to really make a mark there, but I won’t be upset if he is able to do so even earlier.

Next: A Young Guy Looking To Crack The Rotation