The NFL draft is quickly approaching, and it remains unclear what the Houston Texans intend to do with the top overall pick. Matt Schaub is gone, so they certainly have a need at quarterback. There is little consensus when it comes to who the best quarterback in the draft is, though some have claimed they are intrigued by Johnny Manziel. Then there’s Jadeveon Clowney and the freak athleticism he has been showcasing during the offseason.
But what if the Texans draft neither? Andre Johnson has already said he believes Houston should trade the top overall pick. On Monday, Peter King cited a friend of Texans general manager Rick Smith who claims the team likes Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack over Clowney.
“FORS (Friend of Rick Smith) told me the Texans general manager likes Khalil Mack over Clowney, and we still don’t know which quarterback Houston would choose if it chooses one first overall,” King wrote. “I still think the Texans would go with a more sure thing with the first overall pick than a quarterback — and that sure thing could also be tackle Greg Robinson.
“But imagine Mack, the outside linebacker from the University of Buffalo, being the first pick in a stacked draft. Wouldn’t that be something — a second straight Mid-American Conference player (Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, by Kansas City) as the top pick in the NFL draft?”
That would indeed be something. Mack was a first-team All-American last year and is a tackling machine. He also terrorized opposing quarterbacks with 9.5 sacks. As Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk noted, some believe Clowney would be a better fit for a 4-3 defense rather than Houston’s 3-4. Smith’s buddy could also be trying to get more teams to offer trades for the No. 1 overall pick.
Given some of the things we have heard NFL executives say about Clowney’s work ethic, we would not be shocked if he is not the first player taken. Having said that, a Buffalo linebacker being taken No. 1 overall in a stacked draft would be quite the curveball.