In the first of a rundown through the entire first round of the NFL draft, I will examine the landscape and explain the pick I would make, starting with the Houston Texans.
The Pick: Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina
An athletic freak of nature coming out of, where else, the SEC at South Carolina. Anybody with a television set who has watched Jadeveon Clowney can see the physical ability he has. This isn’t just dangerous level we’re talking, this is dominant level. When he has the motor running Clowney has made some of the best blockers in the country look like scrubs off the bench. He’s not only long and powerful but backs it up with a level of speed and athleticism that should not mix on a human body.
Why: Potential of J.J. Watt pairing has too much potential
This is going to be a hotly debated topic right up until the Texans are on the clock. First and foremost, I don’t fall directly in the camp of drafting for need or best player available. I feel the situation best dictates the decision. In this case I can’t see how Houston can pass on Jadeveon Clowney. He is the most talented prospect perhaps by a considerable margin not just in the 2014 class but arguably in the last ten years. His ceiling is that high. Now look at the Texans makeup. They have J.J. Watt, arguably the best defensive lineman in pro football. Should a top priority be for the Texans to find a way to draw blockers away from him? Drafting Clowney would do that, giving the team a pair of pass rushing studs they could build not just a great defense but potentially a defense for the ages.
Argument: Texans have a clear need at quarterback
There is no question nay-sayers will have a valid argument regardless of my reasoning. The Houston Texans don’t need another pass rusher. On the other hand they do need a quarterback after the implosion of Matt Schaub. The #1 pick affords them the chance to take anybody they want be it Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles. By taking Clowney instead those names become lost to the what-if category. Taking Clowney would not solve their overall problem.
Counter-argument: Texans have #1 second round pick and options
My answer to this statement is that the Texans have positioned themselves well. They have a head coach in Bill O’Brien is no stranger to working with lesser able quarterbacks. He turned Matt Cassel into a star in 2008 and then rode Matt McGloin to an 8-4 record his first year at PennState following the Sandusky scandal. For those who might remember McGloin was an undrafted free agent. Houston has the first pick in the second round. That sort of position grants them an excellent chance to still get a quarterback of value such as Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois. They could even trade back into the first round if they wanted and go after FresnoState senior Derek Carr. Also, there is Washington Redskins backup Kirk Cousins waiting on the trade market. The team has options.
That is why I would take Jadeveon Clowney if I were in charge of the Houston Texans. What are your thoughts?