A little while back Dan Hope at Bleacher Report posted an article about sophomore players set to break out in 2015, and the first name on his list was Houston Texans outside linebacker, and first overall selection Jadeveon Clowney. The big sack artist who played at South Carolina was supposed to be a force the minute he stepped onto an NFL field.
even an 80-90 percent version of the old Clowney could still go on to be a highly productive NFL player
Unfortunately, injuries to his knee caused Clowney to miss all but four games in his rookie season. After his second injury last year he had to undergo microfracture knee surgery, and there is a fear that he may never gain the explosiveness he once had after having the dreaded surgery.
Even fellow players in the league seem to think Clowney will never be the same, as division rival Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus held nothing back when he gave his thoughts on the surgery.
"“He’s screwed,” Cherilus, the Colts’ starting right tackle said of Clowney. “His game is all about explosion. That’s a problem. I’m out there dancing. I’m an offensive lineman. That’s a different ballgame. He’s screwed. I’m just being honest.”"
While Cherilus speaks from his own experience in recovering from microfracture surgery, there have been some players who can come back and still perform well, even if not as well as they once could. According to the article by Hope, he believes even though Clowney may not be “fixed” and back to his original form, the 6’5″ 266 pound pass rusher could still be a force in the NFL.
"With that said, even an 80-90 percent version of the old Clowney could still go on to be a highly productive NFL player.And if Clowney can return to his peak physical capability—a level at which he was absolutely dominant as a sophomore at South Carolina in 2012—he could give the Texans a second superstar for the edge of their defense, working in tandem with reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt."
The Texans seem to believe that he is coming along rather well and is ahead of schedule thus far in his rehabilitation. If Hope and the Texans are correct about Clowney it would go a long way towards helping the team become a dominate defense and get over the hump and back into the playoffs in the AFC.