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Manziel Hype Crushed

Talent crushes Johnny Manziel hype: Jadeveon Clowney pick proves Texans are NFL Draft smart

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Clowney tears
Jadeveon Clowney broke into tears on being announced as the Houston Texans No. 1 pick. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Clowney NFL combine
Jadeveon Clowney stood out as the No. 1 ranked prospect across the board. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Bill O'Brien presser
The Bill O'Brien era suddenly has a new cornerstone. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Johnny Manziel hop
Johnny Manziel isn't hopping about not being No. 1. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Clowney tears
Clowney NFL combine
Bill O'Brien presser
Johnny Manziel hop
News_Chris Baldwin_managing editor_arms crossed

Shunning drama, intrigue and yes, Johnny Manziel, the Houston Texans took the clear-cut No. 1 prospect — the man most liable to change the franchise — with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

At 7:15 p.m. Houston time on Thursday night, Jadeveon Clowney's name was read off by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as the Texans choice. With that the Texans defense suddenly started looking like a unit that could be molded into the AFC's best with a little time.

Clowney is the 6-foot-6, 266-pound defensive end who ran a faster 40-yard dash than Manziel.

The crowd at NRG Stadium for draft night (a crowd that filled the main open suite level and took up nice-sized chunks of the stands) broke into cheers at the pick. And louder cheers when the TV feed showed Clowney pulling on his Texans hat for the first time.

There would be no J.J. Watt-like booing on Clowney's draft night. Just respect. And some tears of joy from the player himself.

"It changed my life man," Clowney says in a quick NFL Network interview moments after the selection. ". . . I'm going to go out there and work hard for the Texans."

Manziel's own work took something of a tumble. In the draft's first surprise, the Jacksonville Jaguars made Central Florida's Blake Bortles, not Manziel, the No. 3 overall pick.

While plenty of local but largely sports uninformed Houston politicians and celebrities pleaded for Texas A&M University's celebrity quarterback, inside the professional sports world the feeling overwhelmingly stacked up in Clowney's favor. Everyone from Derek Jeter to Dwight Howard endorsed the athletic freak from South Carolina.

 Jadeveon Clowney is the one player in this draft who can single handedly swing games. He's the only choice that makes sense. 

I've been writing that the Texans need to take Clowney since last Dec. 15. Through the endless months of draft debate, the smokescreens, the outright lies and the fawning multi-part newspaper features on Manziel, nothing that mattered ever changed.

Jadeveon Clowney is the one player in this draft who can single handedly swing games. He's the only choice that makes sense.

The concerns about his work ethic are largely overblown — especially when you're talking about a player capable of blowing up an offensive gameplan.

The Texans didn't outsmart themselves. As long as the draft process dragged on and on and on this year, that's worth something.

 The question is whether the Vikings out maneuvered them by trading up to take Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the last pick of the first round. 

Houston won the No. 1 overall pick. The question is whether the Minnesota Vikings out maneuvered them by trading up to take Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the last pick of the first round, one spot before the Texans pick to kick off the second round Friday night. That answer depends on what you think of Bridgewater and the potential of current Texans quarterbacks like Case Keenum.

While Clowney doesn't trigger anything close to the relentless tabloid frenzy of a Johnny Manziel (something no doubt appreciated by the no-nonsense O'Brien), he has more star power than one might think. He held his own on The Tonight Show as Jimmy Fallon comically tried to beat his 40-yard dash time on the eve of the draft. He also reportedly hit future longtime foe Andrew Luck with some friendly early trash talk, telling the Indianapolis Colts quarterback that he "better have his head on a swivel" when he faces Houston.

The Texans desperately need this type of star — and this type of all-out confidence. Houston has a new star. The right new star.

For more on Clowney and how J.J. Watt is already pushing him, read the full CultureMap story.

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