by TIMMY JOSEPH Staff Writer
The Houston Texans will have the privilege of the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft on May 8. However, they have a lot of pressure as to who they should pick.
The Texans, who finished with two wins and 14 losses, were the worst team in the NFL last season. They finished last season with a 14-game losing streak, and benched their starting quarterback, Matt Schaub, midway through the season. After the release of Schaub, the gap in the quarterback position has become even bigger.
There are three major candidates for the first pick in this year’s draft: Johnny Manziel, quarterback from the Texas A&M Aggies; Jadeveon Clowney, defensive lineman from the South Carolina Gamecocks; and Blake Bortles, quarterback from the University of Central Florida.
Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2012, has been a top prospect ever since entering college. He led the Aggies to a Cotton Bowl Championship in 2012 and a Chik-fil-A Bowl Championship in 2013, winning the offensive MVP both times.
However, Manziel’s magnificent performance on the field has been overshadowed by controversies off the field. He is associated with rapper Drake, basketball superstar LeBron James, and many other high-profile celebrities. This raises a concern for the Texans as they do not want to draft a player that could bring possible issues to their team.
Clowney is a once-in-a-lifetime player, as he is a lineman with the ability to play almost any defensive position. He was an All-American in 2012 and 2013. He ran the 40 yard dash in 4.53 seconds, a remarkable time for a 250-pound lineman. The fastest 40 yard time was run by Chris Johnson, a running back who ran it in 4.24 seconds.
Freshman Connor Angley said, “Clowney is a freak of nature. The Texans need to get him!”
Although Clowney has been questioned for his work ethic, he put those questions to rest at his pro day by performing excellently in drills he has never done before.
Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith were pleased with what they saw, saying, “I am satisfied with what I know about his work ethic…we were able to spend some time with him. He’s a fun guy to talk to. He’s a team guy.”
Although Clowney is an almost irresistible pick, the gap in the Texans’ quarterback slot may be too big to select a defensive end.
A third choice for the Texans is Bortles. Bortles led UCF to a Beef O’Brady’s bowl title in 2012 and a Fiesta bowl title in 2014, the first major bowl game championship in UCF history. Bortles went from a red shirt freshman in 2011 to a first team All-American Athletic member in 2013.
Freshman Tommy Scigowski said, “Bortles is really athletic, and I think the Texans need some athleticism.”
The Texans could use a quarterback as athletic as Bortles. He stands in at 6’5 and weighs 235 lbs. He also ran a 4.93 second 40 yard dash at this year’s NFL combine.
Clearly, the Texans have their work cut out for them on who to pick in this year’s draft.
Who do you think the Texans should select with the first overall pick?