Growing sense that Texans will take defender or trade out at No. 1 overall
Ever since the 2014 NFL Draft order was determined, we have heard the same song over and over again in regards to the Houston Texans and their first overall pick.
The Texans' biggest need is a quarterback, but there are several other players at different positions who are considered much better prospects than this year's top signal callers.
Even so, teams often draft based on needs, and that is what the Texans were initially expected to do. Teddy Bridgewater was first expected to be the Texans' pick, then hometown kid Johnny Manziel, then the prototypical-sized Blake Bortles. Now, however, it looks as if none of those players will be taken at the top of the draft.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the "prevailing thought around the league" is that the Texans will either "take a defensive player or look to trade out" at the No. 1 overall pick.
With the draft stock of quarterbacks plummeting (Bridgewater is now said to be a second-round possibility), this report seems to make plenty of sense. The Texans definitely need a quarterback, but the top prospects at the position have quite a few question marks surrounding them, and there are some intriguing quarterbacks who could be better values in the second or third rounds. If the Texans trade down (let's say to No. 6, the Atlanta Falcons' pick), there is a decent chance that they take a top quarterback prospect while picking up some extra draft selections, but if they stay at the top of the draft, the talent on the defensive side of the ball could be too much to pass on.
The player that will go to the Texans if they pass on a quarterback, in all likelihood, will be Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina. While the stock of quarterbacks has been dropping, Clowney has used the pre-draft process to affirm his status as one of the most unique physical specimens that the game has ever seen. Rushing the passer has become more important than ever in the NFL, and Clowney has all the tools to become one of the all-time greats at hunting down quarterbacks.
If the Texans do go the Clowney route, they could still get their hands on a high-end signal caller in the second round. With the worst record in the NFL, the Texans also have the No. 33 pick, which could be used to select a player like Bridgewater, Jimmy Garoppolo, Zach Mettenberger, or Tom Savage. The latter two appear to be the best fits for what head coach Bill O'Brien likes to do on offense, for what it's worth.
As usual, the draft is turning out to be unpredictable. The Texans could have their sights set on a quarterback and are just trying to boost the trade value of their pick by hinting that they're going to take Clowney. If the assumption was that the Texans would pass on Clowney to take a quarterback, that would boost the value of the St. Louis Rams' No. 2 pick, but if teams think that Clowney will go first overall, they will be willing to give up a ton to move to the top of the draft and land him.
Schefter's report certainly makes sense and very well may be accurate, but it is lying season in the NFL and it is tough to fully buy in on anything you hear. Clowney currently looks like the favorite to be selected first overall, but if the Texans fail to find a trade partner who will offer the package of picks they are looking for, don't be surprised to see them make a quarterback the first overall pick.