Heading into this years NFL Draft- the overwhelming opinion was Jadeveon Clowney should be the player all teams would covet and was the clear choice for the Texans at number 1.
Paired with JJ Watt?
Despite questions about work ethic and recent comments by Clowney that the Atlanta Falcons would be a nice landing spot for him- the defensive prospect was off the charts.
On Monday, Clowney ran two 40-yard dashes that were unofficially hand-timed at 4.47 and 4.48, and officially timed at 4.53 on an electronic clock. All were best among the defensive linemen and better than many of the wide receivers who ran the day before.
Clowney's 40-yard dash was faster than all but one of the times posted by a current NFL starting quarterback-Robert Griffin III- at the combine since 2006, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Johnny Manziel also was a player from his quarterback position that remained at the top of every experts list and should be- if not the first overall player selected- the first quarterback selected.The Texas A&M quarterback ran 4.63 seconds in the 40-yard dash and on his second attempt clocked 4.56 at the NFL Combine on Sunday.
His official time was recorded as 4.68, similar to Andrew Luck and Cam Newton. He was the fourth fastest quarterback at the combine, behind Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas, Miami's Stephen Morris and South Carolina's Connor Shaw.
But he is Manziel. And like Clowney- brings baggage the NFL will throw out if it bleeds into a locker room.
And 2 players in Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles have recently linked themselves as possible selections in the minds of experts debating the fate for the Texans and their position in the number one slot.
However-general consensus after the weekend is all 3 quarterbacks compare equally in many ways when each skill is considered: one runs fast, one throws well and one has the measureables.
Neither carries the entire package like an Andrew Luck or even a Manning.
So the Texans are left with 3 possibilities:
Trade the pick, take a defensive prospect with questions or select the passer many are seperated on in opinion of who's truly a franchise player.
What the Texans should do is select the best player overall.
The player that adds instant depth.
The player who in the minds of every expert wow's the socks off you when he's on the field.
The player with the least baggage and greatest ceiling.
And the player that would turn the first day of the NFL Draft on it's ear:
Watkins ran two very fast 40-yard dash times, unofficially timed at 4.34 seconds and 4.37 seconds.
And in the ACC- Watkins displayed elite speed in 2013. Last year he had 101 catches for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns and was the best receiver in college football. Watkins was ready for the NFL right out of college. As a freshman he had 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns and was just the fourth freshman to be a 1st Associated Press All American, with Herschel Walker, Marshall Faulk and Adrian Peterson.
These abilities paired with Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins-also of Clemson-would instantly translate the Texans offense into one of the leagues most potent-regardless of the quarterback.
Watkins would come into Texans training camp as an immediate starter and legit weapon, providing Houston with much needed firepower and it would also fill the potential hole Johnson will make when he retires- which is near.
Watkins has never dissappointed since his arrival at Clemson.
Clearly he is responsible for elevating Taj Boyd into a top draft pick.
And he could easily make a case for being the best player in this years draft- thus extinguishing doubt over selecting a receiver with the overall number one pick.
The arguement for the Texans to take a quarterback first could easily be argued- but currently the Texans have 2 prospects outside of Schaub that could work themselves into starters already on their roster in TJ Yates and Case Keenum.
Last year Keenum had 9 touchdowns and 6 interceptions- but early on looked the part of a possible starter. Keenum often improvised-like Manziel- and kept many drives alive.
Selecting Manziel would almost equate to the same selection just 1 year earlier.
And experts from Mayock to Kiper to Mcshay all state this years class of quarterbacks all provide legit skills but none seperate themselves from the pack overall.
So the Texans with their second pick could move on a quarterback like AJ McCarron,Logan Thomas or Taj Boyd with the assumption the top 3 have been selected already. None of these project as franchise passers as well, but are not to far from the aforementioned top 3 prospects.
Better still for Houston- wait for the 3rd round to take a quarterback and select a defensive end or corner in the second- clear areas of need as well.
The Texans will get a great player with any of these prospects, which often is the reward for being the leagues worst team the previous year.
And all to often reward comes with risk.
Good thing for many of us is these decisions fall into the hands of GM Rick Smith and owner Bob Mcnair.