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Texans owner McNair gushes over DE Clowney

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Bob McNair is foremost the owner of the Houston Texans, the franchise that holds the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft after ending last season with 14 consecutive losses.

But McNair is also a proud alumnus of the University of South Carolina, and he paid pretty close attention to junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 2 overall prospect eligible for the May draft according to

So while the Texans deliberate for the next four months how to invest the top pick in the draft -- a process that involves general manager Rick Smith and new head coach Bill O'Brien -- the owner let it be known he appreciates Clowney's rare athleticism.

"He's one of these players who's a once-in-every-10 years kind of physical specimen that comes along," McNair said, before comparing Clowney to the team's last No. 1 pick in 2006. "Mario Williams was that way. I think Clowney is actually a better athlete than Mario."

One disclaimer: McNair is also a businessman, and he said at O'Brien's introductory press conference last week that the franchise will consider trade offers for the No. 1 pick. projects the Texans to take one of the top quarterbacks available -- Central Florida's Blake Bortles or Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater.

Clowney made plenty of highlight reels, notably for demolishing Michigan running back Vincent Smith in the 2012 Outback Bowl. He is also being dinged by scouts who question his desire and whether he is playing football for the love of the game or the fame and fortune.

McNair seems to be thinking ahead of the game on the concept of Clowney becoming a professional.

"Like many of these players that have 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," McNair said. "He's not a J.J. Watt. J.J. didn't have that natural ability. He worked. He developed his. I said, 'J.J., I don't know what will happen, but if we get Clowney, we want you to instill in him the same kind of work habits that you have.' He said, 'If he's in the same room with me, then he'll have them."
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