The 2014 NFL draft figures to be interesting if nothing else. The Houston Texans will kick things off with the #1 pick. What are some things they could do?
Take Jadeveon Clowney
It’s already been hinted at by the front office and why would it be? Jadeveon Clowney is one of the most physical talented players to come out of college in a decade. He is an imposing pass rusher and nearly impossible to block when his motor is running. One can only imagine how the Texans defense would look with him on one side and All-Pro J.J. Watt on the other. After all, the modern era is all about the pass, and thus the modern era of defense must be about the pass rush. Watt is one of the best in football. Putting somebody of Clowney’s caliber on the same front would border on unfair and might drastically alter the landscape in the AFC since Houston already has a pretty good defense as it is. It might sound a little boring, but taking Clowney is by no means a bad pick.
Take Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles
As nice as taking Clowney sounds though, pass rusher is not an immediate need for Houston. That honor goes to quarterback. Matt Schaub has clearly fired his best shots in a Texans uniform and the team has no real young replacement in their system. Having the #1 pick should grant them a choice to take any passer in the 2014 class they want. Based on the latest rankings that could come down to Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel and surprise UCF standout Blake Bortles. In terms of production, Manziel has the clear edge. He has baffled and dissected SEC defenses for two years, won a Heisman trophy and went undefeated in bowl games. His mobility is a key asset to his game and he shows the kind of poise and awareness that allows him to make plays from inside or outside the pocket. He is only 6’0″ tall though, and boasts modest arm strength. Bortles on the other hand is the more prototypical NFL quarterback. At a healthy 6’3″ he can see the field well and also boasts deceptive athleticism that allows him to create plays with his feet. His arm strength is well within desired parameters and he’s shown a frequent knack for elevating his game in pressure situations. Whether either of them is a franchise guy is up for debate, but they certainly have enough talent.
Trade down and draft Anthony Barr and trade for Kirk Cousins
This option is certainly popular among fans who would love a chance to collect extra draft picks before getting that top player. Indeed it is an enticing scenario. With no legitimate #1 player standing out at the moment, the Houston Texans might be better off trading down. It give them some extra currency for later on in hope of adding to the talent and depth of the roster. However, there is a way in which they might be able to meet both their hopes. They could move down a few spots, auctioning off Clowney or one of the quarterbacks. With that done they could get that second pass rusher by taking UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr. Though not as talented as Clowney, Barr is more versatile. He rushed the passer very well but also is active against the run and finds way to get at the football. That done, the Texans could then go the unorthodox route for their new quarterback by sending their second round pick to the Washington Redskins for the rights to Kirk Cousins. A backup to Robert Griffin III, the third-year passer nonetheless has acquired considerable starting experience and has played well during those stints. He’s a leader in the huddle, poised in the pocket and delivers the ball on time with accuracy. Andrew Luck he is not, but he has shown enough to deserve a chance.