After watching the Seattle Seahawks win a world championship on the back of a defense where it felt like all 11 guys were constantly flying to the ball, where the opposing offense was constantly being suffocated, the Houston Texans had visions of their own version of defensive hell in mind when they were evaluating their options with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Yes, a franchise quarterback was a huge need, as it is for any team that doesn't actually have one. But after evaluating all the options in the first round -- Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, even Derek Carr -- the team's brass could not escape the mental image of J.J. Watt chasing quarterbacks with a similarly freaky running mate.
And so it was that Jadeveon Clowney became the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He went on to become the fifth most discussed topic in this space in 2014...and none of the discussion was for good reasons, if you're a Texans fan.
Here is how 2014 went for Jadeveon Clowney, No. 5 in our countdown to the King of Content....
All along, the Texans thought they were much better than last season's 2-14 record. With some better luck healthwise, a lighter schedule and a new message from a new head coach, a significant turnaround seemed doable. Add Jadeveon Clowney wrecking shop with J.J. Watt, a healthy Brian Cushing, and Romeo Crennel drawing up the schemes, and dear God, the pain they would inflict. Or so they thought.
As it turned out, the turnaround was doable. 2-14 turned into 9-7. But Jadeveon Clowney had nothing to do with it. Before training camp even started, Clowney would undergo surgery for a sports hernia. He would suffer a concussion during the preseason as well. All of this was mere prelude, though, to the injury that would truncate his rookie season.
It happened in the first half of his first regular-season game. Clowney, on a simple jump to try to knock down a Robert Griffin III pass, came down funny on his right knee (a peculiar landing that may or may not have been caused by the treacherous piece of land that NRG Stadium calls its turf) and tore his meniscus.
Clowney would quickly undergo surgery to get back on the field by the end of October, but the knee was never quite right. He would be around for a game, then gone, then back for another game. Finally, a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews told the whole story -- Clowney would need micro fracture surgery, a scary thought for the player and a harrowing possibility for fans that Jadeveon Clowney's career may never get out of first gear.
All season long, Clowney was so nonexistent that he barely felt like a real person. When he played, it almost looked odd, as if he were some ringer who just flew in for the game that day. This feeling was practically affirmed during Bill O'Brien's post-season press conference on Monday when not a single question was asked about Clowney.
Out of sight, out of mind.
They say that a boat owner has two great days during ownership of that boat -- the day he buys it and the day he sells it. The same can be said of high NFL draft washouts. The two happiest days of employing an NFL Draft bust are the day you draft him and the day you cut him.
I'm not saying Clowney is going to be a bust, and if he does end up being a bust, chances are it may not even be his fault. Injuries happen.
What I am saying is that the best day of having Clowney as a Texan so far was easily draft day. It's been all downhill since.
JADEVEON CLOWNEY POSTS FROM 2014:
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