COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - Former South Carolina defensive standout Jadeveon Clowney just might be the first pick in the 2014 draft if a wealthy alumnus has anything to do with it.
The Houston Texans have the first pick in this spring's NFL draft, and their owner, Bob McNair, happens to think very highly of the defensive end. He also went to the University of South Carolina.
McNair shared his thoughts about Clowney on the Texans team website Tuesday, comparing the star's athletic ability to Mario Williams, who the Texans chose with the first pick back in 2006.
"He's one of these players who's a once-in-every-10 years kind of physical specimen that comes along," said McNair. "Mario Williams was that way. I think Clowney is actually a better athlete than Mario."
While McNair praised Clowney's natural ability, he also indicated Clowney did not have the same kind of work ethic as Texans Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt.
"Like many of these players that have a great physical attributes, they didn't have to work as hard in junior high school and high school and in college to be a superlative athlete because they have this natural ability," said McNair. "He's not a J.J. Watt. J.J. didn't have that natural ability. He worked. He developed his."
McNair says he has talked to Watt about helping Clowney develop stronger work habits should they elect to make Clowney the first pack in the draft.
After his sophomore season, Clowney was projected as the possible first-pick in the draft had he been eligible to enter. However, his status took a slight hit after he posted less impressive statistics this past season. Clowney's game-changing potential still makes him a sure-fire top-five pick in the opinions of most draft analysts.
Clowney racked up 24 sacks in three seasons at South Carolina.