Tania Ganguli | ESPN.com
HOUSTON — Texans owner Bob McNair spoke highly of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, widely considered the top overall talent in this year’s NFL draft, in an interview with the team’s official website.
The Texans have the No. 1 pick in the draft, the first time they’ve owned the top selection since taking defensive end Mario Williams first overall in 2006.
McNair compared Clowney favorably to Williams, a three-time Pro Bowler who has 76.5 sacks in eight seasons with the Texans and Buffalo Bills.
“He’s one of these players who’s a once in every 10 years kind of physical specimen that comes along,” McNair said. “Mario Williams was that way. I think Clowney is actually a better athlete than Mario.”
It will be the third time Houston has had the draft’s top pick. The Texans also had the first pick in 2002, their first season as an expansion franchise, and selected quarterback David Carr.
McNair, a South Carolina alumnus, said earlier this month the Texans would be open to trading the top pick and that the team wasn’t certain whether it would take a quarterback or a defensive player with its first pick, regardless of when it came.
“Like many of these players that have great physical attributes, they didn’t have to work as hard in junior high school and high school and in college to be a superlative athlete because they have this natural ability,” McNair said. “[Clowney is] not a J.J. Watt. J.J. didn’t have that natural ability. He worked; he developed his.
“I said, ‘J.J., I don’t know what will happen, but if we get Clowney, we want you to instill in him the same kind of work habits that you have.’ He said, ‘If he’s in the same room with me, then he’ll have them.'”
- Previously covered Texans for Houston Chronicle and Jaguars for Florida Times-Union
- Northwestern University graduate