Well that didn’t turn out as expected.
Jadaveon Clowney, who was supposed to be a once-in-a-decade type talent, has officially been placed on IR, ending his injury riddled season that saw him record just 7 tackles and 0 sacks.
Now, while there is still a chance Clowney actualizes his superstar potential in the coming seasons, the Texans and their fans have to be asking if their decision back in May to draft the injury prone superstar was the right one for the team.
As the Texans scrap for a playoff spot in a very competitive AFC, there are a lot of needs that stand out on this team that could have been solved in different draft day maneuvers. The linebacker spot that Clowney plays isn’t a dire one.
Looking back at the first few rounds of the NFL draft and seeing the talent they could have brought in is tough for Houston fans, but it is also necessary.
The truth is that the Texans could have walked away with 9-10 rookies out of that draft by trading the number overall pick for a handful of lower round picks that turned into the highly ineffective rookie linebacker.
Trading down from the top slot could have gone a lot of different ways, but trading lower in the first round could have seen them net the talents of already elite receivers like Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, or Kelvin Benjamin.
It could also have gotten them the prime defensive talent like Bears’ phenom CB Kyle Fuller, or the Rams’ late round steal of CB E.J. Gaines, or any of the other star rookie linebackers like Anthony Barr, C.J. Mosley, Ryan Shazier, or Khalil Mack, all of whom have outplayed (or at least, played) Jadaveon Clowney.
Another point of debate that was hot around Draft Day was if the Texans should gamble on a quarterback with their first pick. With Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, and Teddy Bridgewater all already commanding their own teams, it looks as if the Texans could have gone with quarterback and been alright this year.
Nobody really expected the Texans to be as good as they are right now, and that is mostly accredited to solid play from both Ryan Fitzpatrick (who tossed 6 TDs last week) and Ryan Mallett at the quarterback position. But much of the team’s struggles have also stemmed from mistakes from their quarterbacks, and one must wonder how this team would look with, I don’t know, Johnny Manziel quarterbacking the squad.
At the very least, placing Manziel or another rookie quarterback at backup would be a solid bet for the future of this team, since Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the long term answer. They would have had a bigger, and likely better, effect on the Texans’ season than Jadaveon Clowney has had already.
The fact of the matter is that anyone else picked would have contributed more to the Texans and their now very alive playoff run than Clowney. And the Texans organization knows that, and it is something they will just have to swallow. But not without their fair share of regret of what could have been.