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Charley Casserly: Clowney better than Mario Williams


The Houston Texans' potentially dynamic pass-rushing tag team of J.J. Watt and Mario Williams lasted five games into the 2011 season before the latter suffered an injury and ultimately fled to Buffalo via free agency in 2012.

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Nearly three years later, the Texans have a chance for a more imposing tandem on the defensive line.

NFL Media analyst Charley Casserly opined this week that former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is a better player than Williams was entering the league.

It's noteworthy coming from Casserly because the former Texans general manager was widely panned for bypassing the more ballyhooed Reggie Bush and Vince Young to select Williams No. 1 overall in the 2006 NFL Draft.

"If you're convinced Clowney is the best player in the draft and you're not convinced there is a quarterback you are dead-set on, then take Clowney," Casserly told NFL Media reporter Judy Battista. "At least you'll have a 10-year player. There will be another Andrew Luck in 30 years, maybe. So you say, is this guy RGIII? Are these quarterbacks Matt Ryan? That's probably a better discussion. Would you take Matt Ryan or Clowney?"

Battista reports, via a person familiar with the team's thinking, that the Texans walked away from the NFL Scouting Combine with the knowledge that they now have options at the top of the draft. They aren't limited to Clowney or a quarterback and will entertain the notion of trading down.

If they take a pass on a "once-in-a-lifetime talent" in Clowney, the decision could haunt the franchise for a decade or more.

On the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast," the guys talk about the Jim Harbaugh drama in San Francisco and discuss who made the most striking impression at the NFL Scouting Combine.