Houston Texans owner Bob McNair praised Jadeveon Clowney earlier this month. (Scott Cunningham for Sports Illustrated)
Texans owner Bob McNair recently referred to Jadeveon Clowney as a "once-in-every-10-years kind of physical specimen," at least putting on the table the possibility that Clowney could be taken No. 1 overall in May's draft.
Not surprisingly, Clowney has his eyes set on that distinction.
"I want to be No. 1," Clowney told Josh Kendall of The State.
Just last week, Kendall reported that Clowney planned to participate in every drill at next month's scouting combine. The South Carolina star defender also vowed: "The numbers I am going to put up are going to be amazing."
Clowney has been in Mobile, Ala., this week, where Senior Bowl practices are taking place. As an underclassman, Clowney is not participating in that event, though he could begin meeting with NFL team scouts, coaches and front-office personnel there.
Clowney's chances of going No. 1 overall may be as dependent on how the draft's quarterback prospects perform in the coming weeks as it is on what he does himself. Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel all have been mentioned as possible top selections by the Texans, who finished 2-14 this past season with a revolving door of underwhelming quarterbacks. Houston also hired Bill O'Brien -- noted for his work with quarterbacks in the past -- to replace fired head coach Gary Kubiak.
In the latest Audibles Mock Draft, published on Jan. 9, Clowney landed at No. 2 with the St. Louis Rams. That's the pick the Rams acquired from the Redskins when Washington traded up for Robert Griffin III. It may be more of a luxury pick than a need-based one, with the Rams already owning Chris Long and Robert Quinn. But adding Clowney to the mix could turn that defense into one of the league's best. (St. Louis finished this past regular season No. 13 in points allowed.)
Should the Texans and Rams pass on Clowney, the Jaguars, Browns, Raiders and Falcons -- holding picks Nos. 3-6 -- all could justify using a top choice on him. Another team might be willing to trade up for Clowney's services, as well, possibly even into that No. 1 spot.