Clowney makes big impact early

AP

The Texans perhaps should be glad no one was willing to pay the ransom for the pick that became Jadeveon Clowney.

The nation first took notice of Clowney, the first pick in the 2014 draft, when he nearly took the head off a Michigan running back on the first day of 2013.  Last week, he made a similar play in the Cardinals’ backfield (without the flying helmet).  It was the lone bright spot in Houston’s preseason opener.

On Saturday night in his home debut, Clowney provided a pair of early bright spots, in consecutive fashion.

First, he swept unblocked around the end on a delayed handoff, smothering Falcons running back Antone Smith in the backfield.  (Memo to offensive coordinators:  If you’re not going to block Clowney, don’t run a draw play.)

Then, on the next snap, the Falcons tried to block Clowney.  And they couldn’t.  He blasted through left tackle Sam Baker and sacked quarterback Matt Ryan.

Yes, it’s still the preseason.  But Clowney’s skills are jumping off the screen, displaying the kind of dominance that he showed at times in college.