Houston Texans camp: who to watch on defense

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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

With the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Houston Texans selected one of the most electric pass rushers in recent memory of the NCAA. South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney was supposed to be a beast for Houston and pair with defensive end J.J. Watt to form one of the most feared pass rushing duos in the NFL.

Instead, Clowney finished the year with almost as many injuries as games played and never once sacked a quarterback. After offseason microfracture knee surgery, the news around his return is optimistic.

However, this optimism is all about how he has recovered thus far, and while he is ahead of schedule, there is still a lot to be shown by Jadeveon. First, how will he look when the pads come on? Also, will he show better instincts for playing the 3-4 after a college career of playing with his hand in the dirt.

In fact, during his recovery there was a report of how he refused to go to Alabama because they ran a 3-4 system, something he did not want to do.

So keeping an eye on Clowney will be very interesting. Will he be healthy? Will he be effective? Can he even play in the defensive system that he refused to be a part of a few years ago?

On the flip side, with the recent news of Clowney heading to the PUP, the watch may simply be whether or not he is actually able to perform at all during the preseason.

Overall he will be one of the more interesting players in 2015 and if Clowney gets healthy and breaks out, the defense for the Texans will be one of the most feared in all the NFL. If he doesn’t pan out, it will be interesting to see if O’Brien gives him a longer leash than other youngsters because of the fact that Clowney was the first player selected overall just one short season ago.

Next: Starting to look crowded at linebacker