With the NFL combine completed and the draft on the horizon, the team on the clock is the Houston Texans. Of course, with this important of a draft pick, analysts like to think that they are going to take a top signal-caller because that is considered to be the most vital position. However, in this year’s class, I don’t believe there is a true franchise quarterback out there. There is guys like Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel, but I speculate that the top player out there actually plays on the other side of the ball. There are two defensive players in particular that I consider to be more worthy of being the top pick. They are:
Khalil Mack is a linebacker coming out of Buffalo. Obviously, one knock right off the bat that he will receive is that Buffalo never had any big years during his time there. To answer that question, you can’t put the blame on Mack. He was a flat out beast, by being recognized as the Jack Lambert Award winner, MAC Defensive Player of the Year, and an AP second-team All American, all for his efforts in the 2013 season. If you want to see him against top competition, simply watch his game tape against Ohio State in the first game of the season, where he had a pick 6 among a bevy of great plays. He measures out well at 6-3 and 248 pounds, along with producing a 4.65 in the forty at the combine. I believe his mix of size and speed will lead to his continued growth as a player, as he has only been focusing on football for a short time since he was also a basketball player in high school.
Clowney, a product of Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina, is a flat out physical specimen. Even while looking like he wasn’t always putting forth a ton of effort, he was still dominating at the college level. He is listed at 6-5 and 266 pounds and looks to be a perfect fit for nearly any system. He showed at the combine that the hype was well warranted when he ran an official 4.53 in the forty. For many onlookers, this doesn’t even seem fair. A guy that big is running that fast seems like a huge nightmare for any potential blockers. Putting Clowney alongside JJ Watt would create a deadly duo up front. Also, it should come as no surprise that Clowney wants to be chosen number one. He has stated one of his goals is to go number one, as he also was in the same position coming out of high school.
With this said, I believe Mack and Clowney are the best qualified to be the top draft pick. It is easy to understand why they want a quarterback with the pick after Matt Schaub’s performance last year, but is it worth it if you could draft a potential multi-year Pro-Bowl-type player instead. If you have the other pieces in place, you can win games with a game-manager quarterback. Houston always has the option to take a guy like Logan Thomas late and mold him into a future franchise quarterback. The problem is you will need someone to bridge the gap until he is ready. Otherwise, you’ll have an up-and-down season like the Jets had last year with their rookie quarterback. However, we will soon find out which direction the Texans will go.