The 2014 first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney looks to be making strides every game he plays. The Houston Texans’ linebacker has a bright future ahead of him. While his health is no longer in question one must ask: Why isnt he on the field more often?
Coming out of the draft in 2014, outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney was unanimously hailed as a ‘once in a generation player’ and the ‘best defensive product since Lawerence Taylor’. Rightfully so. The former South Carolina product has shown this year some flashes of having the ability to be the best pass rusher in the league.
Now when mentioning his ability to be able to become the most feared pass rusher in football, you simply cannot afford to overlook his willingness and tenacity to play against the run. Clowney was drafted first overall by the Houston because he has the tools to be able to develop into one of the most dominant defenders in the league.
Prior to his arrival of, teams were able to game plan against a J.J. Watt led Houston defense. Teams would run to the opposite side of the defensive end Watt or get rid of the ball faster on short routes as well as screens. No one else on the Bulls On Parade seemed to be able to capitalize when teams ran towards their side while Watt was causing havoc against double or even triple teams. That is where Clowney comes in.
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While Clowney has battled injury during his short tenure as a Texan, it is worth mentioning that he has only played in fifteen career games. In Clowney’s ten games played in 2015, he has amassed 2.5 sacks (including Houston’s lone sack on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills), five run stuffs and a forced fumble all in mostly a limited role. Therein lies the issue, Jadeveon plays in a limited role.
Out of Houston’s 736 defensive snaps over the first twelve games in 2015, Jadeveon Clowney has only played in 365. According to Pro Football Focus, Clowney is tied with Chicago Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee as the best run defender amongst all edge rushers in the league. With the production he has given when on the field, why isn’t he on the field close to every down?
At the very least Jadeveon Clowney needs to be on the field more on first and second down, not just on third down. He has consistently shown his ability to stop the run while also showing he has not lost a step as he can chase down ball carriers.
This Sunday against the New England Patriots, Jadeveon Clowney will have the opportunity in a primetime matchup to show he should be argued as the best linebacker in football. Clowney will look to join Whitney Mercilus as the only active Houston Texan defender to sack Tom Brady.