Swearinger pushing for Clowney as first pick

Swearinger pushing for Clowney as first pick
February 13, 2014, 12:45 pm
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Texans safety D.J. Swearinger says he talks to his former South Carolina teammate Jadeveon Clowney just about every night.

The usual topic of conversation: the potential of the two teaming up in Houston.

“He asks me (about the Texans) every day,” Swearinger said at an NFL Play60 event at Harvard Elementary School in Houston on Thursday. “He asks me every day. Like ‘Bro, what’s the word?’ I’m like, ‘it’s all in your hands. You gotta do what you gotta do for these next three months to make them pick you.’”

But Swearinger, who was taken by the Texans in the second round last year, made it pretty clear: he’d like to see Clowney, the monstrous defensive end, with the Texans next season.

And he’ll get his chance to make a sales pitch. According to Swearinger, Texans general manager Rick Smith wants to speak with him about Clowney. Swearinger said he’ll push for his friend but will be truthful because of the importance of the decision.

The Texans, after a 2-14 season in 2013, own the first-overall pick in the draft. And Clowney is one of the top candidates for that top spot.

“He’s an unbelievable player, with me playing with him before I got a chance to play with J.J. (Watt), they’re very similar,” Swearinger said. “The thing I say, is it’s just another J.J. Watt, he’s just two-tenths faster. He runs a 4.4, he’s 6-6, 270 and he has a heart for the game, he loves the game. And you can’t pass that up, if you ask me.”

The potential of having a defensive line with Watt and Clowney has Swearinger pretty excited. “Bro, I’m gonna just be yelling out ‘interceptions!’” he said. Swearinger has been thinking back to his South Carolina defense in 2011, when the Gamecocks defensive line had Melvin Ingram and a then-freshman Clowney. Swearinger thinks the Texans can have something even more special.

“With them two down on the D-line, it would be unstoppable,” he said.

Clowney is clearly a top talent and will be drafted high in the first round, but the lineman’s work ethic has come into question. Some say he is lazy and doesn’t work very hard on his conditioning. Swearinger saw a different Clowney.

“I think he has sort of a bad rep because a lot of people don’t see inside the weight room and they don’t know the guy can bench 400 pounds, can squat 500 pounds,” Swearinger said. “They don’t know that stuff because they just hear what everybody’s saying but he’s a strong, strong worker in the weight room. When we were there, he worked. From what I used to see, he works and he loves the game.”

And if the Texans do take Clowney, they’ll have someone who knows how to motivate him in the weight room. The Texans’ new strength and conditioning coach, Craig Fitzgerald, was the S&C coach at South Carolina for Clowney’s freshman season before joining Bill O’Brien at Penn State.

“That’s sort of somebody who kept him straight,” Swearinger said of Fitzgerald. “I think it would be a huge asset getting Clowney, because Fitzgerald always stayed on Clowney on everything and had him working 100 percent all the time. The work ethic thing, I don’t think will be a problem.”