If you're Jadeveon Clowney, how do you follow up a validating third season in the professional ranks? One Houston Texans assistant suggests the edge rusher could chart a course toward Canton.
"I told him he can be a Hall of Famer," Texans defensive line coach Anthony Weaver told the Houston Chronicle on Friday. "Now, there's a number of things that have to happen. You've got to stay healthy, you have to be consistent and persistent. But he has all the qualities and athletic attributes in order to do that."
Without the injured J.J. Watt in 2016, Clowney put up Pro Bowl numbers and wrecked offensive lines all the way through the postseason. His six sacks in 14 games were a career-high and his performance against Oakland in the wild-card round made people believe in the former first overall pick once again.
While it may be too early to start molding his bust in Canton's hallways, it's just the right time to get excited about the potential of this Texans defense in 2017. With Clowney, Watt and Whitney Merclius anchoring the front seven, Houston can improve on last season's league-leading defensive output and make a charge against New England atop the AFC -- of course, all of this hinges as always on the competence of the offense and whomever's under center, but that's for another article.
A Super Bowl ring is more easily attainable at this point in Clowney's career than a gold jacket, but if his development continues to accelerate, and his stats are there to prove it, there's no reason why he can't eventually have both.