A lot of action is expected from the Houston Texans at the top end of the 2014 NFL draft. Here is a possible way they could go about their business.
Trade Andre Johnson
Anybody who saw the disintegration of the Texans’ season also saw an angry, bitter Andre Johnson repeatedly lose his composure. The All-Pro wide receiver not only spoke outwardly against his teammates during the slide, he also fanned the flames by leaving the field before one of the games was over. It was a remarkable display for somebody considered one of the great role models in pro football. Perhaps the time is right for Houston to deal their frustrated star, who isn’t looking forward to a rebuild at age 32. A first round pick is likely not possible, but he is still young enough and more than good enough to warrant a second round selection and perhaps an additional mid to late round choice as well. A team that might jump at the chance is San Francisco. They have two second round picks along with two thirds and a number of later round choices as well. Their success with the Anquan Boldin trade might entice them to do the same for Johnson and in so doing give the Texans some quality draft ammunition.
Deal #1 pick to the Cleveland Browns
That would just be the first trade though. Already word has spread the team is interested in possibly dealing the #1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Given the high quality talent both at quarterback as well as offensive line and pass rusher should certainly drive up interest in the pick. The team that hold the best position for such a move is the Cleveland Browns, who hold the #4 pick as well as the 26th from Indianapolis. Packaged together with their second round pick, the Browns, who badly need a quarterback could move up to the top spot to take a Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles while still retaining a number of choices in the third and later rounds. Meanwhile the move only drops Houston to the #4 pick and they gain an additional first and second round pick, give them two first and three seconds overall.
Take Derek Carr or Johnny Manziel with #4 pick
One thing that cannot be overlooked in this process is that the Houston Texans can’t ignore their own needs for a quarterback. So if they do trade down in the draft, it can’t be too far or they risk missing out on one of the top prospects. That is why the Cleveland deal makes sense. It leaves them in good position to get one of the best names. In this case it would likely be either Fresno State gunslinger Derek Carr or Johnny “Football” Manziel from Texas A&M. Either selection would have merit. Carr has a pro caliber arm and the confidence to use it. He’s smart, a hard worker and boasts good height and unheralded athleticism. Some worry about his jumpiness under pressure but that can be worked through with the right coaching. Manziel has his own questions be it his limited 6’0″ frame and good-but-not-great arm strength. Still, he’s shown the constant ability to overcome those problems with game breaking mobility and an uncanny instinct for making plays. He shows good pocket awareness and can throw with accuracy too.
Acquire Marqise Lee with trade up using picks from previous deals
Here is where fans may choose to separate from the idea, but it makes sense. Still in possession of the 26th pick, Houston could sit back and let the 2014 NFL draft play out but they also must remember they just traded Andre Johnson. It would be preferable if possible to get somebody to take over his spot across from DeAndre Hopkins. Some may cry for his former Clemson teammate Sammy Watkins, but that may prove too high a cost. On the other hand, the Texans might have a legitimate chance to pursue USC star Marqise Lee. For example, Houston could place a call to St. Louis at #13 or Chicago at #14, two teams that have expressed interest in moving down and offer up the 26th pick along with 35th pick in the second round they acquired from Cleveland and maybe a late rounder for good measure. They move up, acquire a talent on the same tier as Watkins and still have two second round picks waiting for them on Day 2.