Houston Texans rookie defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney was held out of the final two preseason games due to reported injuries, but it looks like he will be ready to come back to the field this weekend.

Clowney, who practiced with his teammates on Wednesday, is expected to make his NFL debut this Sunday against the Washington Redskins, head coach Bill O’Brien announced.

The former South Carolina product will be starting alongside Brooks Reed at outside linebacker and Brian Cushing on the inside with the fourth starter expected to be announced later in the week.

We haven’t seen much of Clowney on the field this preseason. He’s endured neck and other pains during the preseason that limited him to 29 snaps. During his time last month we saw him explode onto the scene against the Falcons with his progression into the backfield. He’ll be a guy who ultimately rushes the quarterback, but also develops into a coverage linebacker. However, Clowney is still developing those skills as he primarily played defensive end at South Carolina.

Clowney has been labeled “a once in a generation talent” and a “safe pick” by pundits who evaluated their draft selection back in May. It’s safe to say Clowney has to prove his worth. He’ll be playing on the same defense as J.J. Watt, who signed a six-year, $100 million extension on Tuesday. That will certainly help in Clowney’s development into the NFL.

Coach Bill O’Brien did add that newly acqured quarterback Ryan Mallett will be the primary backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick in the opener.

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