John Fennelly, Lead WriterToday we begin our mock draft season, going team-by-team analyzing needs and predicting who will land where in the first round.
The Houston Texans possess the first overall pick in this May’s NFL Draft. New head coach Bill O’Brien takes over a team that lost 14 consecutive games to close out the 2013 season, so it’s safe to say they need a shot in the arm as they start over in 2014.
Major Needs: QB, rush LB, ILB, CB, TE
Picks (11): The Texans own the first pick in each of the draft’s seven rounds, three compensatory picks (one in Rd 4, two in Rd 6) and a 6th round pick obtained from the Raiders.
The Texans have loads of talented players and are in position to add to that core. With 11 selections they have tons of latitude. What they don’t have is a “must-watch” presence that gives them national appeal. This draft could change that.
If I were the Texans…I would take Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel with the first overall pick.
Here’s why: Manziel could either be the next great player in this league or a marginal player who does not factor in any team’s success. I say he’s destined for somewhere in the middle. Manziel brings electricity, notoriety and interest to any franchise that needs an identity and a bigger following. Houston is the perfect place for him. Everything is bigger in Texas, and what better way to make a splash than to hire the most famous sports figure in the state. They have 1o picks after him to fill in some other blanks.
Manziel is worth the first pick for the marketing aspect alone. He looks to be at least as talented as Seattle’s Russell Wilson and brings those same intangibles and excitement to the table. Yes, he’s unpredictable and unconventional, but when he’s on the field, things happen. Last I checked, that’s what this business is all about.
The reality is…if the Texans stay put, they’ll probably select South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney. It’s hard to call the selection of Clowney unexciting, but the Texans passing on Manziel is a missed opportunity for the NFL. Taking Clowney would solve a need, however, and give them another top-notch pass-rusher to go with J.J. Watt.
Next up: St. Louis