Texans rookie outside linebacker Jonathan Greenard has never been able to shake the feeling he can do better.
That’s what drove him to graduate in four years at Louisville then take advantage of the NCAA transfer rules for student-athletes who graduate with eligibility and move on to the University of Florida and the SEC for one year. That drive should ultimately push Greenard to be his best for the team that drafted him in third round (90th overall) in last month’s NFL draft.
“I’m always going to work hard, I always feel like I have something to prove in being the underdog. Having that mindset and that chip on my shoulder all the time …” said Greenard, who finished with 19 career sacks between the two schools. “I’m going to try to do the same thing when I come to Houston and hopefully I can have that same impact coming in.”
Stepping up in caliber of competition last season, the 6-foot-3, 263-pound edge rusher finished with 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss for the Gators to earn First-Team All-SEC status. His play also elevated his draft status.
Not only did Greenard continue to build stats on the football field, but he also achieved some major accomplishments away from football. After receiving his undergraduate degree in sports administration from Louisville, Greenard enrolled at Florida as a graduate student and is now just hours shy of receiving an MBA. So his gains last year were two-fold.
“I’m actually only 18 credit hours away from getting my MBA, so that’s number one,” Greenard said of his gains in transferring schools. “But other than that, just learning – playing at a faster pace, playing in the best conference, the SEC ball.”
The Texans view Greenard as a versatile pass rusher, who will be able to get after the passer as a linebacker or as more of a defensive end. His ability to be versatile is what convinced the Texans to pull the trigger with the 26th pick in the third round.
“Jon Greenard was a guy that you could see doing a bunch of things for us,” said new defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Anthony Weaver. “And I think position flexibility, particularly in the defense we’re trying to institute, adds a tremendous amount of value.”
Follow Terrance Harris on Twitter @terranceharris.