There are tons of rumors swirling right now concerning the Houston Texans and the number one pick. The consensus seems right now that it’s between the draft’s top three quarterbacks (Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater) and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Let’s take a look at a four-round mock draft for the Texans if they end up taking the star pass rusher from South Carolina…
1. First Round: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
The positives are obvious for the Texans taking Clowney with the first overall pick. He’s our top overall player in this year’s class, and has the potential to be a dominant defensive playmaker in the NFL.
The reason I’m most intrigued by Clowney in Houston is they have a chance to get both him and J.J. Watt on the same team at a young age. That’s a rare opportunity that most NFL teams wouldn’t want to pass up on.
There are flaws with that strategy, however. Does Clowney fit with the new defense the Texans are trying to run? Can he stand up on a consistent basis if asked to? He’s certainly got speed to get upfield in a hurry, but his agility numbers were pretty average. He struggled in his junior season to produce statistically with double teams, but my thinking is that in the NFL, specifically with the Texans, Clowney will face much more one-on-one situations than he did even in his early college years.
This is an attractive pick. The Texans NEED a QB of the future, but maybe they don’t feel like it’s one of the top three guys in this year’s draft. Maybe even the top four. They might feel like Bill O’Brien can get them by for a year with Matt Schaub or some other free agent veteran, or perhaps they could look to trade for a young developmental project or use another draft pick on that position.
Either way, Clowney in Houston is intriguing.
2. Second Round: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
There haven’t been many notable names to come out of Eastern Illinois, but you might have heard of Mike Shanahan and Tony Romo, a couple guys who know a thing or two about the QB position.
Garoppolo will have to adjust to the vastly different style of the NFL, but we know the Texans have paid close attention to him in the pre-draft process and he has some upside as a second round pick and potential QB of the future for them.
He lacks elite arm strength, but I don’t think that’s absolutely necessary to be successful in this scheme. He has a quick release, puts nice touch on his passes, and has the leadership intangible qualities you want to have in a young QB.
3. Third Round: Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State
The Texans need an upgrade at the right tackle position, and Turner is a guy that is very intriguing. Perhaps it’s a bit far-fetched to think Houston is going to go after two FCS players in the early rounds of the draft, but the prospect here fits an obvious need.
Turner has the ability to play RT or OG in the NFL, and getting upgrades on the offensive line can’t hurt. Very athletic player with a punishing mentality.
4. Fourth Round: Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina
I always love when teams double up on players from the same college in the same draft, and I think the fit of Victor Hampton here makes sense. Hampton has ideal size and skills for the nickel cornerback position in the NFL with his physical, aggressive style of play. He would fill a hole for the Texans and could potentially be a steal in the fourth round.