There’s a new head coach in town and a huge question mark under center. Generally, that translates to the theory, “let’s draft a quarterback.” Yet, the Houston Texans could be inclined to go with the hottest pro commodity, defensive linemen Jadaveon Clowney. They also could choose to trade the No. 1 pick.
With so many options, Grandstand University editor Kyle Phillippi and staff writer Chad Braun tried their best to come up with a plan for Houston. Of course, there was some disagreement. Let’s check out what they had to say:
Chad Bruan: The Texans have many needs in 2014, however, when it comes to drafting, the best policy is best available player. That’s regardless of the fact that Houston has J.J. Watt. Getting an athlete like Clowney could make their defense a top 10 unit instantly.
Kyle Phillippi: Drafting Clowney is very enticing, especially considering their division has a maturing Andrew Luck. But let’s not forget, when healthy, the Texans have weapons. Having Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Andre Johnson and Brian Cushing all go down in a season is a rare coincidence. Get those guys healthy and they’re back to being a top team in the AFC that only is a few pieces away from contending for the title.
Braun: Having all those pieces on offense makes you lean towards wanting to draft defensively. With Clowney and Watt on the same defensive line, it will be a nightmare for any opposing offensive line. You can’t double both.
Phillippi: Agreed. But sometimes, trading the top pick is smart because you can drop a few spots down and also grab a third round pick as well. Take 2001, when the Atlanta Falcons and San Diego Chargers pulled off a move where the Chargers gave the Falcons the No. 1 pick and moved down four slots. Atlanta picked Michael Vick and the Chargers wound up grabbing, arguably, the best player in their history, LaDanian Tomlinson. Not saying that’s always the case, but for a team like Houston that is one or two players away, having more picks is the best way to go.
Braun: The problem with acquiring later picks is that they are far less likely to make an impact on a squad. Granted there’s plenty of late-round picks that do play in the NFL. Still, though, it’s more likely than not that they won’t and when there’s a sure-fire athlete like Clowney, taking a risk by trading down can backfire severely.
Phillippi: I do believe Clowney will make an impact, but I also think Houston would be wise to move four or five picks down, they could select a QB (Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr) and still have another pick or two from their trade to grab some defensive players. That’s better in my opinion than picking Clowney and addressing an area that is already a strength of theirs, they need to strengthen their areas of concern, which isn’t their defensive line.
Braun: Yes, but as we have seen many times before, defensive lines can win Super Bowls. Refer to the New York Giants of ‘08. I’m also a firm believer that Bortles and Carr are not immediate answers at quarterback. Houston needs an immediate starter and they have a better chance getting one in free agency than trading down and Clowney is a once-in-a-decade athlete, passing on a talent like that tends to make a team look bad.
Phillippi: Fair enough. How about this, say Houston really is looking to draft a QB with their top pick? Where do you think they go? I believe that Manziel has the best pro outlook and he’d have a huge fan base being in the Texas area. He’d bring excitement, electricity and would address their biggest weakness. He’d also have one of the top backs by his side and a monster at wide receiver. The situation is too good and one I don’t think they can pass up if they truly do want a QB
Braun: If Houston wants to go the QB route, Manziel is a very enticing option, but I’m a huge fan of Teddy Bridgewater. I believe he is the most NFL-ready and gives Houston the best chance to win now. He’s the most accurate passer in the draft and can still escape the pocket. A popularity contest shouldn’t be factored into the decision. Just because Manziel is from Texas shouldn’t mean Houston drafts him. In the end, Bridgewater is the most well-rounded QB and I believe he will have the best pro career of all the QBs taken.