When star linebacker J.J. Watt went down with an injury last season, 2014 No. 1 overall pick #Jadeveon Clowney stepped up and delivered Pro Bowl numbers for the #Houston Texans and displayed his defensive prowess in their playoff win over the Oakland Raiders. Clowney’s performance last season silenced doubters questioning his status as a top overall pick and made a believer out of Texans defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, who said he could make it to Canton.

According to NFL.com, Weaver told Clowney that he could be a Hall of Famer but he must ensure his health and be consistent and persistent in every game.

Weaver added that Clowney has all the ability and athletic attributes to reach that. When it comes to Clowney’s potential, Weaver said: “We're still just scratching the tip of the iceberg." In 14 games, Clowney tallied 52 tackles and a career-best six sacks. In 2015, he only had 40 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 13 outings. Watt, for his part, was limited to three games by injuries and had just eight tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Texans’ defense to step up this season behind Clowney, Watt

This season, fans expect more from the Texans defense with Clowney, Watt and Whitney Merclius leading the front seven. Last season, the Texans topped the league in defense, yielding just 301.3 yards and 20.5 Points Per Game to opponents.

If the Texans continue their defensive domination, coupled with an improved offense, they can give the New England Patriots a run for their money in the AFC.

Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel is focused on improving their red-zone defense and creating more turnovers this offseason. They finished tied for eight in the red zone (52.27 percent) and 13th in goal-to-to situations with 66.67 percent.

Last year, the Texans tallied 11 interceptions and had six fumble recoveries, after forcing 25 turnovers in 2015.

Vrabel said they will try to improve at third down and force three-and-outs and get the ball back for our offense. He is confident hat the team will do a better job in the red zone and improve its scoring defense.

Aside from their defense, the Texans also need to improve on offense as they averaged just 17.4 points per game, 29th in the NFL, last season with Brock Osweiler as their starting quarterback. They also tallied just 314.7 yards last season, also good for 29th.

Watt disagrees with his place in NFL Top 100 Ranking

After playing just three games last season, Watt complained that his status as the No. 35 player in the Top 100 Players of 2017 countdown was too high. Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, believes that he should have been excluded from the ranking after his injury-devastated season. Last year, Watt finished at No. 3.