With coach Bill O’Brien taking the head coaching job after a successful run as head coach at Penn State and being in possession of the #1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Houston Texans are in a very good position right now. The only problem is that they haven’t decided whom they’re going to take at the top spot yet.
For the first time in a while, there isn’t a unanimous top pick heading into the Draft, and with all of the talent that this Draft has, it’s hard to imagine there would be just one. So let’s talk about some players who are likely to take the coveted top spot on the board.
2012 Heisman Trophy winner and Texas native Johnny Manziel has to be a definitive favorite after a successful run at Texas A&M. And with Matt Schaub unlikely to retain the starting QB position, Manziel would make a great fit on the Texans roster. The only problem with Manziel, who threw for 7,820 yards and 63 TDs in his two seasons with the Aggies, is his behavior.
Manziel, who has had numerous instances in which his public image has come to question, including a no-show to Peyton Manning’s QB camp and allegations of him signing autographs for cash, put up a lot of red flags up for Johnny Football.
Normally, since most, if not all of these instances have either been retracted or were in fact minor instances, the fact that he would be joining a team in an area where he is already a hometown hero would put them both in a disastrous situation, to say the least. A young kid with questionable discipline would never be able to mature since he would continue to be respected by his Texas natives, which not only hurts Manziel himself but also the Texans organization, not only on the field but off the field as well.
Jadaveon Clowney decided to forgo his senior season at South Carolina to enter the NFL Draft. Clowney has been garnering national attention since high school, and received even more attention from NFL scouts after a hit on Michigan’s Vincent Smith went viral. A year ago, many analysts had predicted the defensive end to be the #1 pick, no matter which team had the top spot, especially since Clowney would no doubt make an excellent addition to the Texans organization (especially with JJ Watt on defense).
Since then, allegations against Clowney in which NFL analysts have questioned his dedication and work ethic has put Clowney’s chances at risk. At the beginning of the season, Clowney sat out in a game against Kentucky, and since then many experts have questioned whether he would full heartedly be committed to any team that picks him. Regardless, Clowney is bar none one of the best prospects in this Draft.
UCF quarterback Blake Bortles has recently gained spotlight after leading the Knights to a BCS bowl win against the Baylor Bears, a game in which he was named Offensive MVP. Bortles has had an amazing junior season, passing for 3581 yards and 25 TDs against just 9 INT.
Bortles also helped his case by participating (and shining) and the NFL Combine (at least during warmups). Bortles would excel with the Texans, especially with Andre Johnson at wide receiver. He has the perfect size for the position, and because of his skill, it would take very little, if any, time at all to make him truly ready to take the helm as the Texans starting quarterback. Unfortunately, with the number of quarterbacks who are also rumored to be taken early such as Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, it’s hard to say whether Bortles will attract enough attention for the Texans to take him first overall, especially since Bridgewater has been taking a lot of the spotlight from him.
Linebacker Khalil Mack has gained attention from Texans scouts after putting up impressive numbers at the Combine. Mack, who played for Buffalo, put up impressive numbers for the Bulls, accumulating 100 tackles, 19.0 of which were for a loss, and 10.5 sacks. At the Combine, Mack posted a 4.65 40-yard dash, 40″ vertical leap, and a 10’8″ broad jump.
Unfortunately, Mack played in such a low level conference against low level opponents, it’s hard to tell whether he would be able to put up numbers against NFL players. Of course, his Combine results disqualified those rumors, but even still, Clowney might gain more recognition and praise solely based on the fact he was able to dominate in such a tough conference.
With that said, Mack still has the size and athleticism that would make him ideal on any NFL roster, and no doubt will go top 10 in the Draft.
With all of the talent in this class, it’s hard to say whom will go #1. The Texans have a lot of needs to fill, on offense and on defense. The only question is what they need the most, and who has the best chance of filling that need. The NFL Draft begins on May 8 at 8pm EST.