Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney: How he’s gone from bust to superstar

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 13: Jadeveon Clowney
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 13: Jadeveon Clowney /
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GLENDALE, AZ – AUGUST 09: Linebacker Jadeveon Clowney
GLENDALE, AZ – AUGUST 09: Linebacker Jadeveon Clowney /

Unfortunately, Clowney’s young career has often been derailed because of injury.

The laundry list of injuries for Clowney started Aug. 21, 2014 (still in his first preseason) with a concussion. After making his way back, he suffered a MCL tear just two weeks later. However, showing his resiliency, he powered through that tear he went down for the season at the end of November with an ACL tear in the same knee.

He came back strong in the 2015 season playing in 13 games and notching 4.5 sacks. While it wasn’t first overall caliber, it was a great improvement over the 2014 season. That is, until he went down with a lisfranc fracture in his right foot. This particular injury was the first time I began to doubt the pick, as it was the injury that took down Yao Ming. Fans around the city began to reel as Clowney spent time on the IR and second overall pick, Khalil Mack, continued to blossom into a superstar.

Going into the 2016 season, Clowney seemed to be on his last leg with the fans and maybe even the team. Whitney Mercilus‘ star continued to rise as Clowney’s fell. However, standing in Watt and Mercilus’ shadows proved to be the very spot he needed to be in to thrive. Clowney burst out of the gates in week 1 with a sack, which began the best season of his career.

Clowney battled through a couple elbow strains, but was able to play the majority of the season for the first time in his career. This was especially important because Watt had gone down at the end of September with back surgery.

The team began to utilize Clowney’s athleticism by using him as a swiss-army knife, playing him all over the field. Clowney ended up with six sacks on the season. The sack numbers, however, do not show his dominance. Clowney ended the year tied for second in the league with 16 total tackles for loss.

The major leap in his development didn’t go unnoticed as he was named to his first Pro Bowl. With this honor, Clowney was finally starting to live up to the potential he had coming out of South Carolina.