No. 8 – Jadeveon Clowney, Edge Rusher, Houston Texans, 2014 NFL Draft
Currently the hottest free agent still on the market, it’s hard to think that it’s only been six seasons since Jadeveon Clowney was taken at the top of the draft, the third Texan in the last 20 seasons to start the draft and the second of the three to be an edge rusher.
The hype around Clowney really began when he destroyed the Michigan backfield, but his stats held up the highlight reel. Playing five seasons with Houston, Clowney was impressive when healthy. In those five seasons, he hit double-digits for games played three times and was a Pro Bowler each of those seasons, despite his career-high for sacks in a season being just 9.5
The other knock on Clowney is that he isn’t the best defensive player from his class or even the second-best. Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald both went later in the first round and have put together more impressive and impactful careers.
The dream of having Clowney and Watt off the edges was one that Houston had a shot at and it’s hard to fault them for trying. Looking back, the Texans could have had the same pressure with a different player that might still be on the roster, but overall it wasn’t an awful pick by any means.