Former NFL head coach Tony Dungy has a suggestion for new Texans coach Bill O'Brien: Take South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick in the draft.
"There is no one physically like Clowney in this draft," Dungy told USA Today. "If Houston wanted to make this a dynamic defense and really put pressure on people, I'd take Clowney first."
Clowney (6-foot-5¼, 266 pounds) will have his pro day Wednesday (live coverage on NFL Network at 11 a.m. ET), and his performance surely will be scrutinized by a large contingent from the Texans, who are mulling their options with the first pick in the draft. Among those who will be in Columbia, S.C., for the event: O'Brien and Texans owner Bob McNair, a South Carolina alum.
While Clowney is expected to again wow onlookers with his athleticism, as he did at February's NFL Scouting Combine, it's what observers can't see that creates the angst. Clowney's work ethic has been criticized and some wonder about his every-down motor.
"That would be the thing that scares me," Dungy told USA Today. "You could get Bruce Smith, Lawrence Taylor. Or you could have Aundray Bruce (the No. overall 1 pick in the 1988 draft who never came close to living up to the hype) in Clowney.
"You hope you get Lawrence Taylor. Because that's who I saw in Clowney two years ago."
Clowney had 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore in 2012; those numbers fell precipitously, to three and 11.5, in 2013.
Regardless of the decline in production, Clowney seems a lock to be one of the draft's first three picks. The mystery surrounding the top part of the draft is whether Houston takes Clowney at No. 1 or bypasses him for a quarterback. When Dungy won the Super Bowl with Indianapolis, he had a quarterback who had been the No. overall 1 pick (Peyton Manning) and he also had a dominant pass rusher (Dwight Freeney). Houston already has a dominant pass rusher in J.J. Watt, and the Texans' biggest hole is at quarterback, though there is no quarterback in this draft like Manning.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.