NFL Draft 2014: The Jadeveon Clowney Rule
Houston Texans safety D.J. Swearinger was at a community appearance on Thursday morning at Harvard Elementary School. As these normally appearances go, Swearinger spent a few minutes talking to the media about football, the Texans, and the state of the union in D.J.'s world.
Draft 2014...it begins.
With Swearinger one season removed from patrolling the secondary for the South Carolina Gamecocks, naturally, the conversation steered toward Swearinger's opinion on his former teammate and top draft prospect, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Not surprisingly, Swearinger was effusive in his praise for the 270 pound beast:
"Just having them two [Clowney and J.J. Watt] down on the D-line, it'd be unstoppable. I'd just be yelling out, 'Interception. Interception.' That's it. It's just another J.J. Watt, but two-tenths (of a second) faster. ... He has a heart for the game, he loves the game and you can't pass that up, if you ask me."
Now, Swearinger's espousing a big board with Clowney's name at the top is understandable -- Clowney's a former teammate, D.J. is a current defensive player, he's swept up in the euphoria of the potential havoc a Watt/Clowney duo could wreak. I get all that.
Now, the rest of you who are touting the "draft Clowney" viewpoint don't get off so easy, and let me say right now that D.J. Swearinger will be the last person to bring up Clowney's name as a potential #1/#1 for the Texans that doesn't get slapped with my new rule, and it goes like this:
If you propose the Texans draft Jadeveon Clowney with the number one overall pick, you must, in your next sentence, outline very clearly what your plan is for the quarterback position next season.
The Texans have issues everywhere on this team, that's understood. Holes in the offensive line, a total lack of any pass rush from people not named "Watt," an inability to force turnovers, special teams issues. I mean, you don't go from 12-4 to 2-14 without having more holes than Sonny Corleone's rotted corpse laid out on the causeway.
But in this day and age in the NFL, it begins and ends with quarterback play, and the statistics prove out that there is no higher percentage way to find a franchise quarterback than using the number one overall pick to select one. Of the eight quarterbacks in the divisional round this past season, three were former number one overall picks (Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck).
Of the 12 quarterbacks selected number one overall since Peyton Manning's draft in 1998, six have gone on to become what I would categorize as "franchise" guys -- Peyton Manning, Michael Vick, Eli Manning, Matt Stafford, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck. (On Stafford, I'll admit the jury is still out, but I think easily two thirds of the league would trade their guy for him. Hell, even former #1/#1's Carson Palmer and Alex Smith have both had some success and could win games in the right team situations. Hell, they have won games in the right situations.)