Originally Posted by Mr teX
And as soon as a good coach sees the bolded, he's done...he wasn't asked to do much of it in college, i'd hate to have him do it alot in the NFL b/c i don't think he'd be good at. The way offenses are spreading defenses out these days, it would be nearly impossible to not have him coverage a ton. We'd see repeats of the 2012 Patriots/Texans debacles. & for a guy with injury concerns around his feet already, i'm not sure you'd want him out there covering the Graham's...or Gronkowski's.....or in 1 on 1 situations with a guy like Bush or Sproles.
Bottom line is, if we were to stay in a 3-4, i don't think he could play OLB...too big & stiff imo. Taking him would mean we'd have to switch to a 4-3 & put his ass on the line where he's comfy & we could use his athleticism in spurts and as a strength.
Well, not being able to cover is not necessarily a weakness if you never need him to do it; Watt is never (or, at least, only rarely) asked to cover anyone and just rushes the passer/RB. O'Brien also made a good point that whether we stay in the 3-4 or switch to the 4-3, that ~60% of the time a defense is in a nickel or dime 4-man front anyways due to how profound the passing game has become as of late, just like you mention.
Drafting Clowney and staying in the 3-4 wouldn't preclude him from putting his hands on the ground. Any defensive coach worth his salt would find a way to use JD to the limits of his talent.