After injuries significantly hampered his first two seasons in the NFL, Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney finally had the type of year in 2016 that was anticipated when Houston made him the first overall pick in 2014.
Entering his fourth season, Clowney is now much more confident in his abilities. Nevertheless, Clowney received some additional encouragement from Texans’ defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, who told Clowney he has Hall of Fame potential.
“I told him he can be a Hall of Famer,” Weaver said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “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.”
Clowney was named to his first Pro Bowl after accumulating 52 tackles, six sacks and a forced fumble last year for the Texans. He managed to do so without J.J. Watt drawing double or triple teams for most of the season to make his life any easier either.
“It meant a lot to me,” Clowney said. “He sees the work I’ve put in from two years of being injured to the next year to the year after. All the guys around my team tell me to keep improving and keep getting better and come back for another great season this year.”
With Watt returning from injury, Clowney could be the biggest beneficiary. He could get more one-on-one matchups opposite of Watt and find his way into more sacks now that he’s healthy and has a full season of experience under his belt.