Posted on August 19, 2016, by Travis Pulver
First round picks are a big deal; No. 1 picks are of course an even bigger deal. Whoever is taken with them is expected to step in immediately, prove his worth and draft position, and make an impact on the team from Day One. J.J. Watt (No. 11 pick in the 2011 Draft) certainly has during his short tenure with the Houston Texans, but the teams’ latest No. 1 pick hasn’t come close to meeting expectations yet. Well—none of the good ones at least.
There were injury concerns with the No. 1 pick of the 2014 Draft, Jadeveon Clowney, and he has lived up to those expectations having seen action in only 17 games during his first two seasons in the NFL. Fans had hoped to see an unstoppable, dynamic duo in Clowney and J.J. Watt, but the two have hardly seen the field together.
At this point, fans would just like to see him get on the field and stay on the field. It’d be nice to see him make an impact, but one step at a time, right?
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As he enters his third year, Clowney and the Texans will be looking to talk contract extension sometime soon. They may pick up his fifth-year option and delay any real decisions for another year, but so far, he hasn’t done anything to warrant the team even doing that. But, in light of some recent news about J.J. Watt, the opportunity to prove his worth may soon arise.
Watt’s body was riddled with injuries from the 2015 season and required several surgeries to repair everything. According to ESPN.com’s Tania Ganguli:
“Watt had five partially or fully torn muscles in his torso, groin and upper legs, necessitating surgical repair on both sides of his body.” Specifically, Ganguli reported Watt “had a partially torn right adductor longus, a fully torn left adductor longus and a fully torn left adductor pectineus in his inner thighs and groin.”
He ended up having back surgery because of a herniated disk on July 21. While he has been optimistic that he would be able to return in time for the start of the regular season, according to head coach Bill O’Brien, there is now a chance Watt could miss the first two games of the season (against the Chicago Bears and Kanas City Chiefs).
“I don’t think we can predict whether he’ll be ready for Week 1 or Week 2,” O’Brien said, per ESPN’s Ed Werder, “but he’s going to be ready sooner rather than later.”
Should Watt miss the beginning of the season, the Texans will need someone to step up and fill the void. There are several good players on the squad that could combine to do it, but it would also be the perfect opportunity for Clowney to show he can be the great disruptor the team hoped he would be when they drafted him.
He had moments of quality play last season, but certainly not enough to justify being taken with the No. 1 pick in the draft. With contract talks coming up in the near future, playing well without Watt in the line-up would give certainly give his agent something to take to the table.