The writing has been on the wall, and then some. According to multiple sources, the Houston Texans are now fully expected to take South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “the sense” is that the Texans will take Clowney or Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, and if they don’t, they would likely then trade out of the first pick of the draft.
Schefter joins the long list of NFL league insiders that don’t appear to think Houston will spend the top pick on Johnny Manziel or any other quarterback. Clemson wide receiver, as talented as he is, also doesn’t appear likely to be in the mix. While the Texans certainly need a quarterback, Schefter speculates that the Texans could still land the exact quarterback they want when they pick again with the 33rd overall pick in round two.
NFL.com’s Gil Brandt seconds Schefter’s notion of a possibility of a trading down, however, as well. Should the Texans find any of the top prospects too big of a risk at the top spot, there is a “good chance” they simply trade down. Brandt even suggested the Texans could initially draft Clowney or another player as part of a draft day trade.
The Atlanta Falcons are arguably the top contender to trade up for Houston’s first overall selection, as they’ve reportedly had their sights set on an elite pass-rusher for some time. Clowney and Mack would certainly qualify as elite pass rushing talent and would be the top two candidates to be picked number one overall.
Should Houston in fact trade down, they could still have a shot at Mack, Manziel or another top prospect of their choosing, while also acquiring more draft picks. Despite numerous draft experts thinking they had the first round figured out, it appears no one knows for sure what the Texans will do to kick off the 2014 NFL Draft, despite the event being just two weeks away.