When it came down to it, what the Texans were going to do with the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft had but one response:
Clowney question, bro.
The Texans did the right thing, taking the best player in this year’s draft with the top pick and then supplemented it with a fantastic rounds two through seven. Here’s a run through of all their picks and my reactions to them.
1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
This was a no-brainer selection. Having the opportunity to pair a young superstar like J.J. Watt with a rare athletic specimen like Clowney is something the Texans simply could not pass on. This is a duo that should absolutely dominate for this team and give them a huge recruiting chip for future free agents. I love this move for Houston and think they can move Clowney all over the place, using his athletic ability.
2. Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA
Su’a-Filo could’ve easily been a first round selection. He is one of the most NFL-ready offensive linemen in the draft and could step in and start at guard for the Texans in 2014. He entered the draft as an underclassmen and Houston is getting a blue-collar, very hard-working lineman who is going to be a starter in this league for a long time.
3. C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
Fiedorowicz was a guy that had some first round marks early in the 2013 season, so getting him in the third round was a nice haul for the Texans. He is an athletic big man at 6’6″ 265 lbs., and has soft hands but is known for his ability to block, an area where he can be dominant. CJF is a player that I had identified in the pre-draft process as a guy who will be better in the pros than he was in college, even though he was still really good at Iowa despite their poor QB play.
4. Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
**BARGAIN OF THE YEAR**
I think it’s incredible sometimes the value teams get in the draft and Nix must’ve had some kind of medical flaw that teams pushed him down the board as far as the third round. There were some out there who had top 12-15 grades on Nix and saw some of Vince Wilfork in his game. I think this was a great pickup and further fortifies the Texans’ defensive line.
5. Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh
Another apparent steal here for the Texans, getting the guy that so many thought was going to be a second round pick leading up to the draft. Savage has a strong arm and went largely unnoticed until his pre-draft hype picked up significant steam. He is entering a situation in Houston where he could legitimately start as a rookie.
6. Jeoffery Pagan, DL, Alabama
Defensive line depth coming from a school that runs a similar defense to what we’ll see in Houston this year. Pagan is 6’3″ 310 pounds and should be able to crack the rotation as a rookie.
7. Alfred Blue, RB, LSU
I think Blue is a really nice pickup for Houston if he can stay healthy. He’s not a burner by any means but he is a good receiver and showed some flashes of brilliance in a crowded backfield at LSU.
8. Jay Prosch, FB, Auburn
Prosch, also called ‘The Hammer’ could be the Texans’ starting fullback year one. Teams don’t often use fullbacks anymore, but if Houston has plans for one, they hand-picked this guy and identified him as someone who could help them immediately.
9. Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt
Physical, competitive four year starter for the Commodores who will step in and give the Texans depth as a fourth or fifth CB and offer special teams ability. There are a lot of open spots in the Texans’ defensive backfield.
10. Lonnie Ballentine, S, Memphis
Athletic freak, this year’s Mr. Irrelevant is 6’3″ 219 who ran a sub-4.4 in the 40 yard dash. He played all four years at Memphis but is really raw, so he’ll come along slowly for Houston.
Draft Grade: A
I don’t grade these drafts based on NFL production, but based on how I thought of the prospects leading up to the draft as well as the impact they can have over the course of their contracts. I think Houston got a lot of guys that can make a year-one impact and even start, possibly as far as into their fourth round pick Tom Savage.
The one problem I have with this draft is that Houston waited so long to get a QB. It’s likely we’ll see Ryan Fitzpatrick as the opening day starter. He’s proven a capable backup but Houston could be picking high yet again in 2015.
Best Pick: Jadeveon Clowney
Best Value: Louis Nix
Best Sleeper: Lonnie Ballentine
Personal Favorite: C.J. Fiedorowicz