How Clowney will fit Houston's D

If selected No. 1, draft's most gifted player will transition to new position, role

Originally Published: April 19, 2014
By Field Yates | ESPN Insider

As the Houston Texans weigh their options with the first pick in the upcoming NFL draft, their thought process will not only involve a player's overall skill set, but also how that skill set translates into what they are aiming to do schematically under new head coach Bill O'Brien.

The team hasn't shown its hand entirely, but it's clear that Houston is strongly considering former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the most physically gifted player -- regardless of position -- in the draft.

And while Clowney played his college career with his hand in the dirt as a 4-3 defensive end, the Texans -- who under defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will offer a 3-4 look -- shouldn't pass on him for scheme considerations, as some have suggested. In fact, I think Clowney is a great fit for the Texans' defensive scheme.

[+] EnlargeJadeveon Clowney
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesJadeveon Clowney's rare skills and athleticism make him an ideal defensive centerpiece -- no matter the system.

Clowney has the requisite traits -- power, explosiveness, quickness, length, agility, ability bend, torque and fluidity -- to play in any scheme, as ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi, who won multiple Super Bowls with Crennel as his coordinator, said following Clowney's pro day. The question going into that workout was whether Clowney, a college end, could handle the responsibilities of an outside linebacker, including playing out of a two-point stance and dropping into pass coverage.

"He looked good. He looked fluid," Bruschi said during a recent appearance on "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd. "His hips were flipping right to left, breaking back up on the ball, no wasted movement towards the bottom of his break when he put the anchor in the ground."

Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.