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Jameis Winston vs. Jadeveon Clowney in rare meeting of consecutive No. 1s

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) wants someone to pick up a defender during the Bucs NFL Preseason Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa 8/24/15. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) wants someone to pick up a defender during the Bucs NFL Preseason Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa 8/24/15. JIM DAMASKE | Times
Published Sep. 25, 2015

Just two weeks ago, Bucs fans saw a rare meeting when Jameis Winston and the Titans' Marcus Mariota went head-to-head as rookie QBs taken 1-2 overall. On Sunday in Houston, Winston will be part of another rare matchup as he goes head-to-head against last year's No. 1 overall pick, Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney.

NFL teams each face 13 different opponents each season, so you'd think back-to-back No. 1 picks would meet like this every two or three years. It's actually far less common than that — just twice in the past 20 years have two No. 1 overall picks met in their first two seasons in the NFL.

In 2013, Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher went up against 2012's top pick, Colts QB Andrew Luck, and the sophomore got a 23-7 win, throwing for 241 yards and a touchdown. In 2008, Dolphins tackle Jake Long went up against 2007's No. 1, Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell, and the rookie won as Miami won 17-15, with Long helping the Dolphins rush for 222 yards along the way.

But since they were all on offense, those top picks didn't really go head-to-head the way Winston and Clowney will Sunday — to find one of those meetings, you have to go back to 1994, when top pick Dan Wilkinson, a Bengals defensive tackle, went up against 1993 No. 1 Drew Bledsoe, a Patriots QB. Bledsoe's Patriots won 31-28 as he threw for 365 yards and a touchdown, while Wilkinson had just one tackle in the loss.

And if you're looking for the exact scenario Winston has this week — a rookie QB who went No. 1 overall facing a defensive player taken No. 1 the year before — that's happened just one time in the 45 years since the modern NFL draft in 1970. In 1989, the Cowboys and rookie Troy Aikman went up against the Falcons and '88 top pick Aundray Bruce, with Atlanta prevailing 27-21 in Week 2, on the day Aikman threw his first career TD pass.

So Winston has a chance to make an obscure part of NFL history by winning Sunday — and the only other time a Bucs No. 1 overall pick faced another No. 1 in their first two years was in 1988, when Bruce was a rookie, facing '87 top pick Vinny Testaverde. Alas, sophomore Testaverde threw three interceptions — one to Bruce — in a 17-10 Bucs loss.

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